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Last updated on April 19, 2014 at 5:20 EDT

The Willis Resilience Expedition Arrives In Antarctica

December 2, 2013

The Willis Resilience Expedition team arrives in Antarctica and makes final preparations before embarking on journey to the South Pole

NEW YORK, Dec. 2, 2013 /PRNewswire/ — After months of preparation, and with the assistance of never-before-used technology, The Willis Resilience Expedition, whose twin goals are to advance the understanding of the planetary resilience and to test the limits of human endurance, has arrived in Antarctica for the beginning of a five week trek across the continent, set to arrive at the South Pole on or about New Years Day.

(Logo: http://photos.prnewswire.com/prnh/20131202/SF25912)

Led by 19-year old explorer Parker Liautaud, a sophomore at Yale University and veteran of three prior expeditions to the North Pole, the Willis Resilience Expedition will conduct three separate scientific research programs and, if successful, will allow Liautaud to make the fastest-ever walk from the edge of Antarctica to the pole and make him the youngest person ever to reach both the North and South Poles on foot.

While Parker and veteran explorer Doug Stoup will make their planned 400-mile trek on foot and unsupported, their progress will be tracked every step of the way by a 2.6 ton custom designed 6×6 Toyota Hilux truck, “The Ice Broker,” capable of transmitting, via satellite, live video, telemetry, data and biometrics around the world via the Expedition Website, www.willisresilience.com. News of the Expedition, and related programming, will be broadcast on a daily one-hour television show hosted at the Website premiering on December 2. As of today, 16 separate one-hour shows are planned through December 23.

The arrival of the Expedition in Antarctica was delayed for five days due to poor weather conditions. When the weather cleared, an Ilyushin cargo plane deposited the team from its staging point in Punta Arenas, Chile at Union Glacier where they will begin Phase One of their expedition. Accompanying Parker and Doug on the flight were Ice Broker driver-mechanic Eyjo Furteitsson, cinematographer Paddy Scott and communications manager Nathan Hambrook-Skinner. During the Expedition, Eyjo, Paddy and Nathan will work to create content and share the latest developments with viewers and followers on social media around the world.

“After two years of careful planning and preparation, we are finally ready to start our journey to the South Pole. This expedition aims not only to set a new world record, but we will also collect data, which will contribute to better understanding our changing world. I am hugely excited about the challenges that lie ahead and hope that people will track our progress on the expedition website where you can follow our journey and join the debate on climate change.”

- Parker Liautaud, Willis Resilience Expedition Leader

The first phase of the Willis Resilience Expedition is the scientific research program. The team will journey to the South Pole in the Ice Broker collecting valuable data, which will be shared with scientists contributing to understanding of global climate patterns. The team’s first job is to deploy the ColdFacts 3000BX, a lightweight weather station. This equipment has not been used in Antarctica before and will relay meteorological data every 30 minutes. A detailed overview of the three elements of the scientific research can be found at the Expedition’s Website.

From the South Pole, the Ice Broker will then take Parker and Doug Stoup to the starting point for phase two of the Expedition: Parker’s world record attempt to become the fastest man on foot from coast to pole. On or around December 8, weather permitting, Parker will begin his plan route of 640 kilometers from the Ross Ice Shelf to the Geographical South Pole in 22 days, at an average distance of 29 kilometers per day on foot, a pace which be the fastest time ever recorded on this route.

The Ice Broker performs two distinct roles during the two phases of the Willis Resilience Expedition. During the scientific phase, it will provide logistical support to the team as it samples the polar ice cap at intervals during the route and will stream live video and data online. During the world record attempt phase, the truck, with the help of two Iridium Pilot systems and a remote camera rig, will stream live footage of Parker and Doug as they trek towards the Pole allowing the expedition to be followed online across the world.

“More people summit Mount Everest every year than have ever touched the South Pole in human history, and yet conditions there can advance our ability to build greater resilience for a risky world. We are proud to enable Parker to conduct his important research and share his unfolding journey, day-by-day, with those on every continent whose lives, businesses and organizations are affected by these issues and who are fascinated by the extraordinary human endeavor Parker is undertaking.”

- Josh King, Chief Communications Office, Willis Group Holdings (NYSE: WSH)

Viewers around the world can watch the Willis Resilience Expedition unfold 24/7 on the expedition website www.willisresilience.com. Starting on December 2, the Willis Resilience Expedition will also broadcast a live one-hour TV show at 3:30 am EST every day from the Willis building in London. The daily shows will feature a live update from the team in Antarctica as well as interviews with guest panelists on issues of Antarctic exploration and climate change.

For all press inquiries please contact:

Kristen King
kking@fenton.com | (212) 584-5000

Clara Vondrich
clara@fenton.com | (212) 897-2063

Notes to Editors
About Willis: Willis Group Holdings plc is a leading global risk adviser, insurance and reinsurance broker. With roots dating to 1828, Willis operates today on every continent with more than 17,000 employees in over 400 offices. Willis offers its clients superior expertise, teamwork, innovation and market-leading products and professional services in risk management and transfer. Our experts rank among the world’s leading authorities on analytics, modeling and mitigation strategies at the intersection of global commerce and extreme events. Find more information at our website, www.willis.com, our leadership journal, Resilience, or our up-to-the-minute blog on breaking news, WillisWire. Across geographies, industries and specialisms, Willis provides its local and multinational clients with resilience for a risky world.

An unsupported expedition: The Willis Resilience Expedition will have a vehicle tracking the explorers however, the team in the truck will provide no support to Parker along the way. The vehicle is tracking the team to provide round the clock footage and imagery along the way and will not carry any equipment for Parker with them.

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Source: PR Newswire