Volcanic ash cloud strands Bideford mayor

THE Mayor of Bideford is stranded on a remote American island in the North Atlantic due to the ongoing chaos caused by the erupting volcano in Iceland. Cllr Andy Powell has spent the last fortnight on Hatteras Island searching for clues of the 16th centur

THE Mayor of Bideford is stranded on a remote American island in the North Atlantic due to the ongoing chaos caused by the erupting volcano in Iceland.

Cllr Andy Powell has spent the last fortnight on Hatteras Island searching for clues of the 16th century Lost Colony of North Carolina; but in an ironic twist, he and his party have become "lost" themselves.

The Mayor, marine archaeologist and television personality Dr Mark Horton and students from Bristol University are among the many thousands of people stranded following the grounding of aircraft because of the plumes of dust erupting from the Eyjafjallaj�kull crater.

Speaking to the Gazette on Monday, Mr Powell said that the group was unable to leave on their scheduled flight last Friday.


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It seems more likely that it will be at least Sunday before they are able to take off.

He said: "Dr Horton has put it quite well when he says we have become the second Lost Colony. It took England 425 years to look for the first and we hope it will not take quite so long this time."

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The party are the only British people on Hatteras, a barrier island off North Carolina's coast.

"It is far worse out here than in Europe," said Mr Powell. "We have been watching on CBS news and seen Newark Liberty airport in New York, which is where we will have to fly from. There are hundreds of European people on camp beds filling the corridors and on the concourse, with American people handing them out food.

"People are being very good to us and we are holding our own at the moment.

"But it has been a good trip. We have significantly extended our research and information and our list of finds gets bigger and bigger. Rather than twiddling our thumbs we are able to carry out more digs."

The Lost Colony is a mystery. The colonists landed in North Carolina in the 1580s - more than 30 years before the Pilgrim Fathers - then disappeared.

Mr Powell is bidding to prove not only that the 117-strong group included people from Bideford, but that they were not "lost", but assimilated into the local tribes.

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