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Helicopter pair rescued off Antarctic

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LONDON, England -- Two Britons have been rescued from the icy waters of the Antarctic after their helicopter ditched into the sea.

The Chilean authorities organised the rescue of Steve Brooks, 42, and Quentin Smith, 40, both from London, on Monday.

The rescue operation was launched after Brooks managed to telephone his wife Jo from a satellite phone to tell her they had been forced to launch an emergency dinghy into the sea.

He was one of two British explorers who last year laid claim to being the first to drive across the treacherous Bering Strait from the North American continent to Siberia.

This was despite being refused permission to enter Russian territory.

Smith, a world champion freestyle helicopter pilot who has flown twice around the globe, provided helicopter support on the same expedition.

A spokeswoman for Brooks told the UK Press Association that the men had been on their way from Chile to the Antarctica region when they were forced to ditch the helicopter into the sea.

The British Royal Navy survey vessel HMS Endurance, which was in the area, had dispatched a Lynx helicopter in case it was needed for a rescue operation.

The HMS Endurance, an ice breaker, has been surveying uncharted waters in Antarctica.

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