History is full of daring explorers and their adventures. But what about those who set out with the same optimism and determination, but never came back?
Click start to play today’s Spell It, where we learn about famous explorers who went ‘missing’.
Here are a few explorers who left very little trace of their true fate, according to a January 2023 report in the National Geographic:
1. George Leigh Mallory
When English climber George Mallory began his third ascent of Mount Everest in April 1924, the world was watching with bated breath. In his previous expedition, he had reached 27,235 feet – just 1,800 feet short of Everest’s peak. This time, he intended to make it to the summit. He set out with his companion, Sandy Irvine, and were even spotted at about 800 vertical feet below the summit, by another climber. But then, a snow squall occurred and the climbers disappeared. For 75 years, no one knew where Mallory or Irvine were. In 1999, Mallory’s frozen corpse was discovered at 26,760 feet, while Irvine’s body has still not been found. Adding to the mystery is the question of whether Mallory was on his way up, or coming down. If he did reach the peak, he would have beaten New Zealand mountaineer Edmund Hillary, who is known to be the first man to reach the summit, in 1953.
2. Amelia Earhart
Famous for being the first woman to fly solo across the Atlantic, Earhart’s round-the-world flight in 1937 was her final challenge. While the first part of her 46,670km were difficult, it was the Pacific leg from New Guinea to Howland Island that proved to be the most arduous journey. In Earhart’s last radio communication, she said she couldn’t see the island and was running low on fuel. After that, nothing. Even today, legends and theories surround Earhart’s disappearance. Some say the bones found in 1940 in the Nikumaroro island in the Pacific Ocean, belonged to Earhart. Others found underwater fragments of a plane that resembled hers and think she made an emergency landing on another island. Her fate though, still remains a mystery.
Another British explorer, Colonel Percy Fawcett, was lost in the dangerous wilderness of the Amazon rainforest in Brazil, which he believed contained the ‘Lost City of Z’.