‘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.”

News
people
Arts and Entertainment
Armstrong, left, and Bain's writing credits include Peep Show, Fresh Meat, and The Old Guys
TVThe pair have presented their view of 21st-century foibles in shows such as Peep Show and Fresh Meat
Arts and Entertainment
Keys to success: Andrew and Julian Lloyd Webber
arts + entsMrs Bach had too many kids to write the great man's music, says Julian Lloyd Webber
Sport
footballMan City manager would have loved to have signed Argentine
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
News
people
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
Hand out press photograph/film still from the movie Mad Max Fury Road (Downloaded from the Warner Bro's media site/Jasin Boland/© 2014 Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc.)
films'You have to try everything and it’s all a process of elimination, but ultimately you find your path'
Arts and Entertainment
Imelda Staunton as Dolores Umbridge in the Harry Potter films
books

New essay by JK Rowling went live on Pottermore site on Friday

News
people

Top Gear presenter is no stranger to foot-in-mouth controversy

News
Russia Today’s new UK channel began broadcasting yesterday. Discussions so far have included why Britons see Russia as ‘the bad guy’
news

New UK station Russia Today gives a very bizarre view of Britain

Arts and Entertainment
Keira Knightley and Benedict Cumberbatch at the premiere of The Imitation Game at the BFI London Film Festival
filmsKeira Knightley tried to miss The Imitation Game premiere to watch Bake Off
News
i100
Sport
Enner Valencia
footballStriker has enjoyed a rapid rise to fame via winning the title with ‘The Blue Ballet’ in Ecuador
Arts and Entertainment
A top literary agent has compared online giant Amazon to Isis
arts + entsAndrew Wylie has pulled no punches in criticism of Amazon
Arts and Entertainment
Charlie Sheen said he would
tv

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

Mobile Developer (.NET / C# / Jason / Jquery / SOA)

£40000 - £65000 per annum + bonus + benefits + OT: Ampersand Consulting LLP: M...

Humanities Teacher - Greater Manchester

£22800 - £33600 per annum: Randstad Education Manchester Secondary: The JobAt ...

Design Technology Teacher

£22800 - £33600 per annum: Randstad Education Manchester Secondary: Calling al...

Foundation Teacher

£100 - £125 per day: Randstad Education Chelmsford: EYFS Teachers - East Essex...

Day In a Page

Bryan Adams' heartstopping images of wounded British soldiers to go on show at Somerset House

Bryan Adams' images of wounded soldiers

Taken over the course of four years, Adams' portraits are an astonishing document of the aftermath of war
The drugs revolution starts now as MPs agree its high time for change

The drugs revolution starts now as MPs agree its high time for change

Commons debate highlights growing cross-party consensus on softening UK drugs legislation, unchanged for 43 years
The camera is turned on tabloid editors in Richard Peppiatt's 'One Rogue Reporter'

Gotcha! The camera is turned on tabloid editors

Hugh Grant says Richard Peppiatt's 'One Rogue Reporter' documentary will highlight issues raised by Leveson
Fall of the Berlin Wall: It was thanks to Mikhail Gorbachev that this symbol of division fell

Fall of the Berlin Wall

It was thanks to Gorbachev that this symbol of division fell
Halloween 2014: What makes Ouija boards, demon dolls, and evil clowns so frightening?

What makes ouija boards and demon dolls scary?

Ouija boards, demon dolls, evil children and clowns are all classic tropes of horror, and this year’s Halloween releases feature them all. What makes them so frightening, decade after decade?
A safari in modern Britain: Rose Rouse reveals how her four-year tour of Harlesden taught her as much about the UK as it did about NW10

Rose Rouse's safari in modern Britain

Rouse decided to walk and talk with as many different people as possible in her neighbourhood of Harlesden and her experiences have been published in a new book
Welcome to my world of no smell and odd tastes: How a bike accident left one woman living with unwanted food mash-ups

'My world of no smell and odd tastes'

A head injury from a bicycle accident had the surprising effect of robbing Nell Frizzell of two of her senses

Matt Parker is proud of his square roots

The "stand-up mathematician" is using comedy nights to preach maths to big audiences
Paul Scholes column: Beating Manchester City is vital part of life at Manchester United. This is first major test for Luke Shaw, Angel Di Maria and Radamel Falcao – it’s not a game to lose

Paul Scholes column

Beating City is vital part of life at United. This is first major test for Shaw, Di Maria and Falcao – it’s not a game to lose
Frank Warren: Call me an old git, but I just can't see that there's a place for women’s boxing

Frank Warren column

Call me an old git, but I just can't see that there's a place for women’s boxing
Adrian Heath interview: Former Everton striker prepares his Orlando City side for the MLS - and having Kaka in the dressing room

Adrian Heath's American dream...

Former Everton striker prepares his Orlando City side for the MLS - and having Kaka in the dressing room
Simon Hart: Manchester City will rise again but they need to change their attitude

Manchester City will rise again but they need to change their attitude

Manuel Pellegrini’s side are too good to fail and derby allows them to start again, says Simon Hart
Isis in Syria: A general reveals the lack of communication with the US - and his country's awkward relationship with their allies-by-default

A Syrian general speaks

A senior officer of Bashar al-Assad’s regime talks to Robert Fisk about his army’s brutal struggle with Isis, in a dirty war whose challenges include widespread atrocities