British explorer Sir Ranulph Fiennes has pulled out of an expedition to cross Antarctica during the region's winter after developing a severe case of frostbite. File photo: Binod Joshi

London - Veteran British explorer Ranulph Fiennes is being evacuated from Antarctica after he was forced to pull out of an expedition team because of severe frostbite.

The 68-year-old explorer had hoped to traverse nearly 4 000 kilometers (2 500 miles) during the region's bitterly cold winter. The expedition, dubbed “The Coldest Journey,” will continue without him.

A team spokeswoman said Fiennes began his long journey back to England on Wednesday, after waiting for days for a break in a snow storm. She said a Belgian team has transported him to the Princess Elisabeth Station, from where he will be airlifted to Cape Town, South Africa, late Wednesday.

Fiennes had to abandon the polar challenge because he suffered frostbite injuries to his left hand after he briefly removed a glove. - Sapa-AP