Roving Report APTN
20/07/1970- Bridgetown, Barbados
1. Various shots of Ra II papyrus reed vessel at sea
2. Crew waving as approach mainland
3. Crowds at quayside
4. Thor Heyerdahl being interviwed at quayside
5. Cutaway crowd
6. Heyerdahl being interviewwd after expedition
Explorer Thor Heyerdahl has died.
Heyerdahl, whose 1947 Kon-Tiki expeditions captured the world's imagination, slipped into a deep sleep on Tuesday (16 April 2002) a week after he started refusing food, water or medical attention.
A week later, Heyerdahl, who made a career of challenging the views of the scientific mainstream, slipped into a deep, coma-like sleep but was still alive, his son said.
He died Thursday afternoon.
The scientist and adventurer was rushed to the Santa Conora hospital on the Italian Riviera nearly three weeks ago after becoming ill during a family gathering at Colla Michari, an ancient Italian village he bought and restored in the 1950s.
At his request, he was released from the hospital and brought back to his beloved Colla Michari to spend his final days surrounded by family.
He was 87.
Experts scoffed at Heyerdahl when he set off to cross the Pacific aboard a balsa raft in 1947, saying it would get water logged and sink within days.
After 101-days, and 7,900 kilometers (4,900 miles), he proved them wrong by reaching Polynesia from Peru, in a bid to prove his theories of human migration.
His later expeditions included voyages aboard reed rafts, Ra, Ra II and Tigris.
The Ra II expedition was Heyerdahl's second attempt to prove that the cultures of Latin and South America could have been infuennced by people who had sailed across the Atlantic from the Mediterranean area.
On July 12th 1970 Heyerdahl and a 7 mile crew sailed into Bridgetown, Barbados after a journey of more than 300 miles from Morocco.
The vessel they sailed in- the Ra II- was made of papyrus reeds and based on a 5000 year old Egyptian design.
His wide ranging archaeological studies were often controversial and
challenged accepted views.
Heyerdahl maintained a high pace of research, lectures and travel until his sudden illness.
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