Ford F-150 That Fell Through Arctic Sea Ice in March Will Be Rescued This Week

As it turns out, Arctic waters are a no-parking zone for lifted exploration vehicles.

byVictoria Scott|
Ford News photo
Transglobal Car Expedition


The Transglobal Car Expedition crew will attempt to drive from the South Pole to the North Pole and back again in 2024. It's something that has never been accomplished before without the help of airplanes, and for obvious reasons, it's incredibly challenging. The team behind the run, which has already started practicing, found out firsthand in March when one of its off-roaders—a Ford F-150 modified by Arctic Trucks—plunged through the ice. Fortunately, it was unoccupied and there were no injuries.

In order to prevent the truck from damaging the fragile ecosystem, they're now headed back to fish it out.

The F-150 AT44 was lost while practicing a challenging leg of the journey from Yellowknife in the Canadian Northwestern Territories to Resolute, Nunavut. They successfully completed the journey, making the Transglobal team the world's first wheeled overlanders to complete the route, but in the process of returning their vehicles back home, the truck fell through thinner than expected ice near the Tasmania Islands and sank.

The plan to recover the sunken Ford is to have an Arctic dive team swim down to where it's currently parked, 26 feet below the surface, and attach airbags to it that will float it back up to sea level. If that goes well, it can be floated to the nearby Tasmania Islands, at which point a Coldstream Super Puma heavy-lift helicopter will be used to fly the waterlogged Ford back to Gjoa Haven, Nunavut, where the truck can finally catch a ferry home in Montreal. The operation is specifically meant to ensure that the truck doesn't pollute the environment by degrading to a point where its fuel tanks rupture into the Arctic Ocean. The Transglobal team has wildlife monitors on hand to ensure that they do as little harm as possible to the ecosystem while rescuing the truck.

The F-150 AT44 in question is a specially prepared by Arctic Trucks out of Iceland. It has a modified frame that allows it to fit massive Nokian Hakkapeliitta 475/70 R17 tires, which work out to—you guessed it—44 inches in diameter. It rides on Bilstein suspension and boasts onboard inflation pumps for its massive tires, an ARB air-locker front differential, and two fuel tanks with a combined 69 gallons of capacity. You can't help but wonder if some beluga whales took the once-in-a-lifetime chance to check it out while they had the opportunity.

The entire rescue operation is intended to take three days, and it'll kick off on Thursday of this week.

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