Explorers or Boys Messing About


The article discusses a helicopter crash that occurred by two highly experienced professionals, in an area that was unsuitable for such a mode of transport. The article outlines the incident but it also criticises the two men for the decisions that they have made.

Explorers or Boys Messing About, figure 1


The article was placed into a newspaper after the event occurred.

author’s purpose

The article was written for a newspaper. Despite the obvious purpose of ‘informing’, newspaper articles also contain points of view and they are biased towards one opinion. This often depends on the point of view that the newspaper is attempting to project.



____Morris appears to be criticising the the decisions of the men. He uses informal vocabulary in the title: ‘Explorers or boys messing about?’ This verb suggests that the two men, who are experienced, were acting in an immature manner and should not have been behaving as they did. Note that this is a rhetorical question, although he does appear to be answering the question throughout the article with his own opinion.

Facts vs Opinions

Newspaper article contain both facts and opinions. Facts cannot be disputed and are true. Opinions are how people feel about a situation. On many occasions, articles contain opinions that are disguised as fact. Newspapers aim to influence the reader’s point of view, depending on the objective that they are attempting to achieve.

Morris states the incident ‘ended in farce’. This criticises the men and the outcome of the incidents. He also states that ‘experts questioned the wisdom’ of the men and this suggests that they knew all along that this was an unwise idea.

However, many of the paragraphs are purely factual:

‘The men were plucked from the icy water by a Chilean naval ship after a nine-hour rescue which began when Mr Brooks contacted his wife, Jo Vestey, on his satellite phone asking for assistance. The rescue involved the Royal Navy, the RAF and British coastguards.’

Even with the facts, the writer chooses to include the verb ‘plucked’, which provides a viewpoint as to how these men were rescued.


Most of the paragraphs are short, due to the number of facts that are included in the piece. Note the embedded clauses, such as:

‘The drama began at around 1am British time when Mr Brooks, 42, and 40-year-old Mr Smith, also known as Q, ditched into the sea 100 miles off Antarctica, about 36 miles 20 north of Smith Island, and scrambled into their life-raft.’

Newspaper articles often include as much information as possible into one sentence. Commas are used to break up the information.


Within your examination, you will be asked a series of questions about the article.

Some of the questions will be short questions. For these questions, you must look at the number of marks in brackets. It is important to answer in full sentences.

Other questions will be long questions. For these questions, you must look at using analysis. You will also be asked to compare. Think carefully about the key comparisons and plan your answer first.

Assessment features are __coming soon: ____check back here in the next few days for the opportunity to ____unlock assessment ____and access ____teacher-written questions ____with ____model answers.

Which country were they attempting to cross into?
Explanation: They were attempting cross into Siberia
How many hours was the rescue? (1 mark)
9 hours
Explanation: The rescue was 9 hours.
What was the Royal Navy’s ice patrol ship called? (1 mark)
HMS Endurance
Explanation: The ship was called HMS Endurance.