The cutter Yelcho, commanded by Pilot Luis Alberto Pardo Second, witnessed one of the most moving Antarctic bailouts of our naval history alive to rescue the crew of the English scientific expedition of Sir Ernest Skackleton.
Shortly after the outbreak of World War I, the first days of August 1914 set sail from Plymouth Shackleton s expedition, and its main objective to define the coast of Antarctica while making a trip interoceanic. This trip took place on the ship Endurance, enabled solely for this purpose. The voyage from England to Buenos Aires took two months, setting sail from this city, heading for South Georgia Island. On November 5 Endurance continued its journey towards the Weddell Sea. It would be here, where the expedition was trapped for nearly a year in an ice pack. On October 24, 1915, decided to abandon ship before it sank down owing to pressure exerted on the ice his helmet, which occurred on November 20, 1915.
Recovering what more could, among which there were boats, sled dogs, provisions, and all kinds of materials, the castaways began a new journey whose aim was alcazar Elephant Island. After moving on icebergs and sailing in small boats, reached the island on April 21, 1916. Once here, and having set up camp, Shackleton decided to seek rescue from 5 of his men to South Georgia Island. 870 miles separated them from their next target.
They left Elephant Island on 24 April, in a boat just 8 meters. Circumventing the inclement weather, came at the end of their forces, one day 10th May to the island they landed on the far side of Puerto Husvik (whaling station) where the only way to cross the island on foot, which until then time no one had done. After walking for 40 hours, crossing venstiqueros and peaks climbing above the 3,000 mts. arrived at the port where they were greeted with surprise and enthusiasm, as the Endurance expedition was taken for loss. Right then starts working again Skacleton in rescuing the 22 crew who were waiting on Elephant Island.
The first rescue attempt was made to fines de Mayo in the whaler Southern Sky, which under Norwegian Captain Thom, attempt to reach Elephant Island, it was not possible due to a compact cluster of ice surrounding the island. After hitting the most diverse doors asking for help in this rescue, the Uruguayan government was provided with a small ship inspection Fisheries Institute 1, which, under the command of Lieutenant-Behety Elirichi Rupert, sailed to Elephant Island June 10, 1916, be getting only 10 miles from its target, it must deternerse can not beat the great conglomeration of ice surrounding the island later this new failure Shackleton traveled to Punta Arenas, getting to perform a new attempt belonging to the schooner Emma Sara Braun. After sailing 23 days and without being anywhere near the elephant had to return to Punta Arenas.
In a fourth attempt Sir Ernest Shackleton to the Chilean government has sought authorization to use the cutter Yelcho in the rescue of the 22 castaways. Authorization of the Government, and coal and aprovisonado with everything you need, the Yelcho sailed from Punta Arenas on August 23, 1916. Having carefully considered the Piloto Pardo route across the Strait, the Beagle Channel and no greater. But out to sea to climatic conditions vary, there is a dense fog. Lacking even 150 miles to the island, the fog was so thick you could not see beyond the bow of the boat. Under these conditions, reached the breakers of Elephant Island, although no longer existed a belt of ice that surround the island, the pass was not free. Being within a mile of the coast an iceberg broke one of his pieces being a big obstruction. At that crucial moment, the pilot decided to launch the Yelcho Pardo against the mass of ice, which endured incredibly tenacious this shock, ultimately leaving a clear passage. Thus, after midday on August 30, 1916 lostripulantes the Yelcho could clearly see the 22 castaways who could not believe what his eyes saw.
The Yelcho heorica protagonist of this bailout was built in 1906 at the shipyards of Glasgow, as whaling ship. It was a tug built entirely of steel, its weight was 480 tons, and had a boiler, a fireplace and 600 horsepower. Average 35 meters in length and 7 wide. After two years of operations as a whaler in 1908 was sold by the Company Yelcho-Palena to the Navy changing its primordial destiny to transport ship and oceanographic research in the South Seas