Antarctic winter rescue mission successful
The precarious rescue involved landing the plane on an icy runway by McMurdo Research Centre in minus 25C temperatures.
The pilot took advantage of a thin window of midday light on to land the Australian Antarctic Division’s (AAD) Airbus A319 by McMurdo research base.
Prior to the landing U.S. staff had prepared the ice runway called Pegasus for the plane’s arrival. It is one of only a few in Antarctica that can land wheeled aircraft.
It is not the first rescue mission from the bottom of the world, in October 2011 an American researcher who suffered from a suspected stroke was rescued by the U.S. Air Force.
In 2010 New Zealand helped two Americans who had become ill get away from McMurdo.
The most famous rescue was of Dr. Jerri Nielsen in 1999.
Nielsen, the doctor at Amundsen-Scott South Pole Research Station, diagnosed herself as having breast cancer after she found a lump.
She treated herself with chemotherapy agents delivered by parachute from the U.S. Air Force until she was rescued.
»Plane makes dangerous landing on ice at Antarctic base station to rescue seriously ill US researcher
Approximately 30 nations operate permanent research stations in Antarctica including the U.S., China, Russia, Australia, Britain, France and Argentina.
- Rescue plane leaves Antarctica after picking up patient (antiguaobserver.com)
- Sick American scientist successfully evacuated from Antarctica (euronews.com)