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Captain is fined pounds 750 for Alaska fiasco.

AN ARMY captain has been fined pounds 750 after leading a disastrous expedition up one of the world's highest mountains.

Justin Featherstone, 30, and his nine-man team were left stranded on the face of the 20,300ft peak in Alaska after their radio batteries ran out.

Almost pounds 140,000 had to be spent on a four-day military rescue mission to save the men from death on Mount McKinley.

Six of the nine soldiers suffered near-fatal falls and needed to be airlifted to safety.

Featherstone, of Somerset, himself had to be rescued by an 18-year-old private after plunging 1000 feet and shattering his leg.

The group was finally saved by the National Park Service and the US military.

An Army inquiry was told Featherstone, a Princess of Wales Royal Regiment officer based in Canterbury, Kent, led the expedition last year.

The officer, who earns pounds 24,000 a year, did not make sure the party had adequate radio batteries. The ones they had with them soon ran down, leaving them isolated.

On the group's return to Britain, the expedition came under the scrutiny of the Army's special investigation branch.

Featherstone, who has recently returned from Kosovo, was fined by the Army for failing to ensure the group had proper communications. The penalty was handed out by the commander of 5 Airborne Brigade at Aldershot, Hampshire.

An inquiry team will now see if any lessons can be learned from the expedition.
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Publication:Daily Record (Glasgow, Scotland)
Date:Jul 23, 1999
Words:240
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