Source AP ©

Faeroese boy finds working watch buried in ice three years ago at North Pole

A wristwatch buried by an adventurer in the ice at the North Pole three years ago was found by a boy more than 3,000 kilometers (1,800 miles) to the south after it floated ashore near his home on the Faeroe Islands, his mother said Thursday.

Niels Jakup Mortensen, 11, spotted a small black box on March 22 near his home in Famijns, a village of 115 people on Suduroy, the Faeroes' southernmost island, his mother Anna Jacobsen said. Inside the box, Mortensen found a wristwatch buried by Joergen Amundsen, a descendant of famed Norwegian polar explorer Roald Amundsen, during a trek to the North Pole in 2004.

Joergen Amundsen produced 250 copies of a wristwatch he designed to withstand extreme conditions in the Arctic, and buried one of them in memory of his ancestor.

Jacobsen said the watch was accompanied by a letter from Amundsen, partly damaged by sea water. She then looked Amundsen up on the Internet, where she found details about the watch, which is working.

"It was so unbelievable," Jacobsen told The Associated Press. "It had been buried in the North Pole. We discussed it for hours."

Hjalmar Hatun, an oceanographer with the Faeroese Fisheries Laboratory, said it was "very likely" that the wristwatch had drifted south with one of the chunks of ice that frequently break away at the North Pole and are carried off by the ocean currents.

The Faeroes, an 18-island Danish territory, are located halfway between Scotland and Iceland.

Amundsen could not immediately be reached for comment but was quoted by the Faeroese daily Sosialurin as saying the boy could keep the watch. The remaining 249 watches have been put up for sale at an average price of 70,000 kroner (EUR9,400; US$12,550).

Hatun said the ice breaking off at the North Pole was not related to global warming, as the phenomenon was first observed more than 100 years ago by Norwegian polar explorer Fridtjof Nansen.

"So in that sense, the fact that objects from the North Pole can drift south is old news," Hatun said.

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