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SPARC Hillary Expedition Falls Victim to SARS


SPARC Hillary Expedition Falls Victim to SARS

SPARC Chief Executive, Nicholas Hill, has today announced that the inaugural SPARC Hillary Expedition has been postponed to 2004 due to the SARS virus in Asia.

Hill said "this has been a very difficult decision to make. Unfortunately SARS has meant that the border into Tibet is closed and the team couldn't complete the journey as planned. The source of the Mekong is in Qinghai province - on the Tibetan plateau and this was to be the starting point of the journey. The team were then due to spend up to six weeks travelling through Tibet and Yunnan province in southern China."

"We know the team has put a huge amount of time and effort preparing for the expedition but we had to take an objective view of the current situation, the risk to the team and make a decision", said Hill.

Ros Wood, spokesperson for the team said "we are absolutely gutted. We were due to leave in the next couple of weeks and have been preparing ever since we found out in March that we would be going. We know this is a huge opportunity and are now pursuing options with SPARC as to how we can make sure we get there in 2004. We really want to complete the full expedition and at the moment that isn't possible."

The SPARC Hillary Expedition is about being world-leading in the outdoors and creating some inspiring role models for our young people. By postponing the expedition the team will be able to complete the journey as a world-first.

The SPARC Board took advice from the Ministry of Health and Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade.

The team were to spend six weeks in China, starting on the Tibetan Plateau and descending through the state of Yunan. The route continues through Laos, Cambodia and Vietnam. -ends-

Please note: Further information the dates for the SPARC Hillary Expedition will be available as soon as possible. Keep in touch with progress through the expedition website at www.sparchillaryexpedition.org.nz


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