April 5, 2006 in Nation/World

Adventurers held by Russians after crossing Bering Strait

David Holley Los Angeles Times
 
Associated Press photo

Briton Karl Bushby walks along the frozen Bering Sea earlier this year. Russian authorities have detained Bushby and Dimitry Kieffer of Anchorage, Alaska, after the pair crossed a frozen 56-mile stretch of the Bering Strait on foot.
(Full-size photo)

MOSCOW – A pair of British and American adventurers who say they crossed the frozen Bering Strait by foot from Alaska, with brief periods of swimming in protective suits, have been detained in Russia’s far eastern Chukotka region for violating border regulations, authorities said Tuesday.

Karl Bushby, a Briton who is on a well-publicized attempt to walk from the tip of South America to Britain, was picked up with Dimitri Kieffer, a U.S. and French citizen, after entering the small settlement of Uelen, according to Keith Bushby, Karl’s father, who spoke by telephone from Britain.

“We can confirm that a British national is undergoing checks in Chukotka,” said Anton Atrashkin, a spokesman for the British Embassy in Moscow. “Our understanding is that the national, Karl Bushby, lacks border checks from the American and Russian authorities.

“We worked together with the American authorities in contacting the Russian authorities in both Chukotka and Moscow,” Atrashkin said. “We hope the problem will be resolved.”

The U.S. Embassy in Moscow said the American Consulate in Vladivostok was working on the case, but declined further comment.

The elder Bushby said he had spoken with his 37-year-old son by satellite telephone after the two adventurers had reached the northeastern tip of Russia on Friday. They set off from the Alaskan town of Wales on March 17, he said, adding that the men had planned to head from Uelen to Provideniya, a settlement with an airport, where they had wanted to present themselves for immigration procedures.

The elder Bushby said the men were being held at a hotel, apparently in the settlement of Lavrentiya, while the issue of their documents was being resolved, and that he hoped his son would be allowed to continue what would be a record-breaking walk. He said he had not been able to talk to his son since his detention.

The two men’s adventures as they crossed the strait have been heavily covered by the British media, particularly the Hull Daily Mail, Karl Bushby’s hometown newspaper.

Bushby, a former paratrooper, set off from the tip of South America in 1998 and hopes to reach Britain in 2009 after walking about 36,000 miles, according to a Web site run by his father and other supporters. If he succeeds, it would be a feat never before accomplished. The Web site,

goliath.mail2web.com, includes reports on how the men crossed the strait and Bushby’s earlier adventures.

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