27 Dec 2009

Last of Kon-Tiki crew dies

12:24 pm on 27 December 2009

The last member of the 1947 Kon-Tiki raft expedition, Knut Haugland, has died in Norway.

The expedition, in which six people crossed the Pacific on a balsawood raft, was launched by anthropologist Thor Heyerdahl to demonstrate that South Americans in pre-Colombian times could have settled in Polynesia.

Mr Haugland first came to prominence as a member of the Norwegian resistance in World War II, the BBC reports.

He was honoured by the British for his part in helping disrupt Nazi Germany's plans to create heavy water for its nuclear weapons programme.

After the war he was recruited by Thor Heyerdahl as a radio operator for the Kon-Tiki expedition.

The crew sailed a raft made of traditional materials across the Pacific from Peru.

Thor Heyerdahl died in 2002 at his home in Italy, at the age of 87.