Khoo reaches North Pole Hitachi Extreme North Expedition
After 45 days of skiing in sub-zero Arctic temperatures, Singaporean adventurer Khoo Swee Chiow made history by reaching the North Pole.
Khoo, along with guide Paul Landry, skied a total of 771km to reach the geographic North Pole at 1850hrs on 5 May 2002 (0750hrs on 6 May 2002 Singapore time). It was Day 45 of the expedition.
With this landmark achievement, Khoo has become the first man in Singapore and South East Asia, as well as the fourth in the world to complete the Adventure Grand Slam, which consists of the Seven Summits, the South Pole and the North Pole.
“Greetings from the top of the world! I have arrived! This is for Singapore! I’ve often dreamt of this moment and now I’m finally here! It’s a great feeling!” an elated Khoo said.
“It’s the icing on the cake as now I’m one of the few who have completed the Adventure Grand Slam. I will never forget this day!”
Hitachi Extreme North Expedition patron RAdm Teo Chee Hean had this to say to Singapore’s new hero: “Congratulations Swee Chiow for achieving the Adventure Grand Slam by arriving safely at the North Pole. You have achieved your dream of setting foot on both poles and the Seven Summits. Your achievement will inspire other Singaporeans to reach for their own summits and fulfill their dreams. We look forward to welcoming you home.”
Khoo had attempted the North Pole expedition in March 2001 but had to be evacuated nine days later after suffering from frostbite on his fingers.
Undaunted and having gained precious experience from his first attempt, Khoo set off again on 10 March 2002 to the North Pole.
Khoo said: “It may seem like it’s easier because it’s my second time round and even though I was better equipped, it was still really hard work to get here. We’re dealing with forces of nature here, which are always unpredictable.
“It was a special moment for me when I crossed last year’s evacuation point on Day Eight. From there, I just pushed on. I knew I had to make it this time because of the faith that my title sponsor Hitachi Asia and all the other sponsors had in me.”
The expedition was delayed at the start for five days by a blizzard that ruined the team’s flight plans. And through the course of the expedition, the team had to deal with more storms, pressure ridges, temperatures as low as -38°C and open water leads.
“The temperatures this year were higher and that caused a lot more open leads. This caused us some precious time,” said Khoo. “But Paul and I worked really well as a team and even though there were times when the going was really tough, we plod on.
“When we arrived, Paul planted the Canadian flag and I planted the Singapore flag on the sides of our tent. We’re both very proud to be here, on the top of the world, for our countries!”`
Takashi Muraki, Managing Director of Hitachi Asia Ltd., said:” I am proud to be his sponsor and his supporter. And I want all the Singaporeans to know that Hitachi is very thrilled to be able to be a piece of Singapore’s history. The Hitachi Extreme North Expedition is not only Hitachi’s and Swee Chiow’s achievement. It’s also Singapore’s achievement.”
About Hitachi Asia Ltd.
Hitachi Asia Ltd., a subsidiary of Hitachi, Ltd., is headquartered in Singapore. With offices across seven ASEAN countries – Indonesia, Malaysia, Myanmar, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam – the company is focused on its Social Innovation Business to answer society’s challenges. Hitachi Asia and its subsidiary companies offer a broad range of information & telecommunication systems, power systems, social infrastructure & industrial systems, electronic systems and equipment, construction machinery, high functional materials and components, automotive systems, home appliances and others. For more information on Hitachi Asia, please visit the company’s website at https://www.hitachi.com.sg.