Australian jet in Antarctica rescue mission

Aug 09, 2012

An Australian medical team and government jet have been dispatched to Antarctica to attempt a landing on an ice runway to rescue a sick scientist from the United States' McMurdo Station base.

The Australian Antarctic Division (AAD), a branch of the government's environment department, said the US National Science Foundation (NSF) had requested assistance in the tricky emergency mission.

NSF spokeswoman Debbie Wing said no US aircraft were available so Australia agreed to loan an Australian A319 Airbus to fly the patient out. The Royal New Zealand Air Force will provide search-and-rescue coverage for the flight.

"The Australian team will be positioned in Christchurch, New Zealand later today and will fly to McMurdo Station when weather and light permit," the AAD said in its statement.

Antarctica is emerging from a six-month period of night and Wing said the pilots plan to arrive at an ice runway near the station during a "period of twilight at mid-day that could assist pilots in landing."

She did not identify the patient but said he or she "is currently stable but may require immediate best delivered at a more capable facility than available at McMurdo."

AAD director Tony Fleming said all nations with an interest on the icy continent "work together very cooperatively in these sorts of in Antarctica to provide support when and as required."

Medical evacuations from Antarctica are relatively infrequent, with the last such rescue taking place in October 2011, when a US scientist was airlifted from McMurdo after suffering a stroke at the Amundsen-Scott .

Approximately 30 nations operate permanent research stations in including the US, China, Russia, Australia, Britain, France and Argentina.

Explore further: Climate models don't over-predict warming, study shows

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Australia's Antarctic claim 'at risk'

Aug 08, 2011

Australia holds the largest claim to Antarctica but risks losing it in any race to unlock the frozen continent's potentially vast mineral and energy resources, an influential thinktank said Monday.

South Pole website celebrates a century of science

Dec 15, 2011

A century ago, two groups of explorers crossed the Antarctic continent, competing for the distinction of being the first to stand at the geographic South Pole. Norwegian native Roald Amundsen and his men won ...

Recommended for you

Storm chasers take on supercell thunderstorms in Bangladesh

3 hours ago

This past April, Scott Olson touched down in Bangladesh to become the country's first known storm chaser. On the other side of the world, back in Oklahoma, Tim Vasquez and a team of meteorologists worked tirelessly to put ...

Slope on the ocean surface lowers the sea level in Europe

4 hours ago

Research at the National Oceanography Centre (NOC) has discovered that a 'slope' on the ocean surface in the Strait of Gibraltar is lowering the sea level in Europe by 7cm. This research, published today in Geophysical Re ...

Climate models don't over-predict warming, study shows

7 hours ago

If you listen to climate change skeptics, Earth's surface hasn't warmed appreciably in the last 15 years, and any "record" set last year is just the result of the planet doing what the planet naturally does.

GPM sees nor'easter dump snow on New England

19 hours ago

At 5:05 p.m. EST Monday, Jan. 26, 2015, the Global Precipitation Measurement mission's Core Observatory flew over the Nor'easter that dumped snow on New England. This satellite image shows the rate of rainfall, with low amounts ...

User comments : 0

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.