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Antarctic Trek Member Falls Ill

December 31, 1998

WELLINGTON, New Zealand (AP) _ A member of a three-man team trekking to the South Pole has fallen ill, but supporters say the trio will press on as soon as the sickness has passed.

Jon Muir is laid up in the team’s camp 260 miles from the pole with suspected food poisoning, said Yvonne Hillary, wife of team member Peter Hillary. The team hopes the sickness will last only 24 hours.

Hillary is the son of Mount Everest conqueror Edmund Hillary.

New Zealander Hillary and Australians Muir and Eric Phillips left Scott Base on Nov. 4 to ski and hike the 1,875-mile route to the South Pole, retracing English explorer Robert Falcon Scott’s 1911 journey.

Muir is unable to eat, which means he lacks the strength to haul his huge sled.

The quantity of food rations requires the team to average 13 miles a day, but it has only made about 6 miles daily since Christmas due to two blizzards, supporters said.

``Every day blizzards hold them up is another day they have less food. Illness has the same effect on their supplies,″ said Yvonne Hillary.

Phillips told Auckland’s Herald newspaper Wednesday that the delays have prompted him to compose songs to keep his mind occupied.

``I am a musician so I’ve been working on some songs for when I get back home,″ he said.

The ill-fated expedition of English explorer Scott and his team of four men, who set out with ponies and sled-dogs, ended when the men died of starvation and weakness only a few miles from a supply dump, and just days from journey’s end.

If successful, the Hillary-led trip will be the longest unsupported ice trek this century.

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