NEWPORT explorer Richard Parks has begun his journey home after being airlifted to Chile on Saturday night.

Parks had to abandon his attempted 746-mile trek to the South Pole after realising on Friday he had “simply run out of time.”

It was confirmed yesterday that Parks landed in Punta Arenas, Chile, the same venue as his pre-trip holding camp.

His team tweeted: “Richard was picked up yesterday & after seeing ALE (Antarctic Logistics and Expeditions) doctors at UG (Union Glacier), he made a connecting flight out to Punta Arenas by Ilyushin jet last night.

“He arrived in Chile late last night & will be responding to messages & will blog when he wakes. Thank you for your support. Team Parks.”

The former Newport RFC and Dragons rugby player was just 124 miles from reaching his target, but had been plagued by difficulties throughout the trip.

Owing to losing his kit – including his specialised Pulk sled which carried it all – before the trip, Parks was delayed in starting the expedition.

His body had also begun to feel the force of the polar conditions.

He told readers of his blog that his mouth was full of ulcers and described himself as “skin and bones.”

Because of this and his delayed start, Parks could no longer reach the pole by January 28 – the date of the last flight out of Antarctica for the season.

Parks told his fans “We can’t always control the cards that life deals us with, but we can control how we react. I’ve done everything with integrity and safety to give myself the best chance.

Simply, I have run out of time.”