‘I was desperate for my team to make it’: Adventurers caught in Greenland storm tell inquest of ordeal that killed friend

Philip Goodeve-Docker died from hypothermia after team became trapped in a tent where temperatures plunged to -20C

Two British charity adventurers have recounted for the first time how they were caught in a horrific sub-zero degree Arctic storm which led to one of their friends freezing to death.

In emotional testimony, the pair told how their friend Philip Goodeve-Docker, 31, died from hypothermia in Greenland in April after the team became trapped in a tent where temperatures plunged to minus 60-70C including the wind chill factor.

Roan Hackney, 31, and friend Andrew Norman, 33, described how their efforts to hug Mr Goodeve-Docker to keep him warm and to sing morale-boosting songs as they were “squeezed by two walls of snow” failed to save their friend, who is believed to have died only a few hours before they were rescued.

Left to right, Philip Goodeve-Docker with Roan Hackney and Andy Norman Left to right, Philip Goodeve-Docker with Roan Hackney and Andy Norman (PA)

The men told an inquest at Basingstoke Coroner’s Court how, on 26 April, they became caught in a severe storm known as a “Piteraq” – an “all-consuming” and often deadly wind – two days into a 370-mile (644km) 30-day, unsupported charity trek across an ice cap.

Mr Goodeve-Docker, an events organiser from Chilbolton in Hampshire, died hours before the group were finally rescued by helicopter at noon on 28 April. The other men survived the ordeal, but had severe frostbite which resulted in Mr Norman losing some of his toes and fingers.

Mr Hackney told the hearing that he knew the storm was coming and so set up camp in readiness. He said they were well prepared with all the right kit to deal with the conditions, but explained that very soon his worst fears were realised as the storm “rapidly escalated out of nowhere”.

He said drifting snow and ice began crushing them inside the tent. Within hours all three of their tents poles had snapped, forcing them to huddle in the outside porch and fight for their lives in the cold.

He said he tried to go outside to move the snow, but was unable to as visibility was less than inch in front of his face. “I was concerned there would be suffocation under a blanket of snow,” said Mr Hackney.

After calling for help on a satellite phone, the men were told it was impossible to get a helicopter to them and that they would have to sit the storm out.

In Chilbolton, Mr Goodeve-Docker’s family, who attended yesterday’s hearing, were desperately trying to have the rescue brought forward after speaking to him on the phone.

By this point the men were becoming exhausted. “I kept repeating to the team their names and to tell me them back but in reality, our thoughts were only on survival… we were just trying to stay alive,” Mr Hackney said.

He added that the space the men had was getting smaller and smaller as the storm continued to rage.

Philip Goodeve-Docker died in Greenland Philip Goodeve-Docker (PA) “From 19.00 [on 27 April] it was an utter fight for survival,” he recalled. “It was excruciating but we had a sense of purpose and we were determined to stay alive. I had no intention of dying. I was desperate for my team to make it.”

By the morning of 28 April, Mr Hackney told the hearing he was unconscious with hypothermia and said that Mr Goodeve-Docker must had died a few hours before the rescue.

“I heard the helicopter and the sound of people grabbing my hand and I was pulled out of the snow... it was only later in hospital that I heard Andy had survived and Phil had died.”

Mr Norman told the hearing that his overwhelming memory of the ordeal was the constant, relentless wind.

He made a desperate attempt to live by managing to get under the team’s sledge for shelter before he was rescued. “Phil I knew to be dead. I had realised that Phil had frozen to death,” he said.

Recording a verdict of misadventure, North Hampshire coroner Andrew Bradley said: “It’s almost perverse that a fundraising drive taking place in a sense of adventure became the most appalling misadventure.”

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Life and Style
love + sex A new study has revealed the average size - but does that leave men outside the 'normal' range being thought of as 'abnormal'?
Voices
The Palace of Westminster is falling down, according to John Bercow
voices..says Matthew Norman
Sport
Steve Bruce and Gus Poyet clash
football
Arts and Entertainment
Jake and Dinos Chapman were motivated by revenge to make 'Bring me the Head of Franco Toselli! '
arts + ents Shapero Modern Gallery to show explicit Chapman Brothers film
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
Arts and Entertainment
Kurt Cobain performing for 'MTV Unplugged' in New York, shortly before his death
music Brett Morgen's 'Cobain: Montage of Heck' debunks many of the myths surrounding the enigmatic singer
Sport
Brendan Rodgers
football The Liverpool manager will be the first option after Pep Guardiola
Life and Style
life
Sport
Christian Benteke of Aston Villa celebrates scoring the winner for Aston Villa
football
Arts and Entertainment
Myanna Buring, Julian Rhind-Tutt and Russell Tovey in 'Banished'
TV Jimmy McGovern tackles 18th-century crime and punishment
Arts and Entertainment
Paul Whitehouse as Herbert
arts + ents
News
Bill O'Reilly attends The Hollywood Reporter 35 Most Powerful People In Media Celebration at The Four Seasons Restaurant on April 16, 2014 in New York City
media It is the second time he and the channel have clarified statements
News
people
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Lettings and Sales Negotiator - OTE £46,000

£16000 - £46000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an opportunity to join ...

Recruitment Genius: Home Care Worker - Reading and Surrounding Areas

£9 - £13 per hour: Recruitment Genius: This is a great opportunity to join a s...

Recruitment Genius: Key Sales Account Manager - OTE £35,000

£25000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Have you got a proven track rec...

Recruitment Genius: Sales Executive - OTE £40,000

£15000 - £18000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a great opportunity for...

Day In a Page

Syrian conflict is the world's first 'climate change war', say scientists, but it won't be the last one

Climate change key in Syrian conflict

And it will trigger more war in future
How I outwitted the Gestapo

How I outwitted the Gestapo

My life as a Jew in wartime Berlin
The nation's favourite animal revealed

The nation's favourite animal revealed

Women like cuddly creatures whilst men like creepy-crawlies
Is this the way to get young people to vote?

Getting young people to vote

From #VOTESELFISH to Bite the Ballot
Poldark star Heida Reed: 'I don't think a single bodice gets ripped'

Poldark star Heida Reed

'I don't think a single bodice gets ripped'
The difference between America and Israel? There isn’t one

The difference between America and Israel? There isn’t one

Netanyahu knows he can get away with anything in America, says Robert Fisk
Families clubbing together to build their own affordable accommodation

Do It Yourself approach to securing a new house

Community land trusts marking a new trend for taking the initiative away from developers
Head of WWF UK: We didn’t send Cameron to the Arctic to see green ideas freeze

David Nussbaum: We didn’t send Cameron to the Arctic to see green ideas freeze

The head of WWF UK remains sanguine despite the Government’s failure to live up to its pledges on the environment
Author Kazuo Ishiguro on being inspired by shoot-outs and samurai

Author Kazuo Ishiguro on being inspired by shoot-outs and samurai

Set in a mythologised 5th-century Britain, ‘The Buried Giant’ is a strange beast
With money, corruption and drugs, this monk fears Buddhism in Thailand is a ‘poisoned fruit’

Money, corruption and drugs

The monk who fears Buddhism in Thailand is a ‘poisoned fruit’
America's first slavery museum established at Django Unchained plantation - 150 years after slavery outlawed

150 years after it was outlawed...

... America's first slavery museum is established in Louisiana
Kelly Clarkson: How I snubbed Simon Cowell and become a Grammy-winning superstar

Kelly Clarkson: How I snubbed Simon Cowell and become a Grammy-winning superstar

The first 'American Idol' winner on how she manages to remain her own woman – Jane Austen fascination and all
Tony Oursler on exploring our uneasy relationship with technology with his new show

You won't believe your eyes

Tony Oursler's new show explores our uneasy relationship with technology. He's one of a growing number of artists with that preoccupation
Ian Herbert: Peter Moores must go. He should never have been brought back to fail again

Moores must go. He should never have been brought back to fail again

The England coach leaves players to find solutions - which makes you wonder where he adds value, says Ian Herbert
War with Isis: Fears that the looming battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

The battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

Aid agencies prepare for vast exodus following planned Iraqi offensive against the Isis-held city, reports Patrick Cockburn