Australian jet in Antarctica rescue mission
This is the first medical evacuation from Antarctica since October 2011.
Wed, Aug 08, 2012 at 03:05 AM
Photo: ZUMA Press
SYDNEY — An Australian medical team and government jet were sent to Antarctica on Aug. 8 to assist in the rescue of an expeditioner from the United States' McMurdo Station base.
The Australian Antarctic Division, a branch of the government's environment department, said the U.S. National Science Foundation had requested assistance in an emergency mission, the details of which were not immediately clear.
"The Australian Antarctic program is providing its A319 Airbus and a specialist medical team to help," the AAD said in a brief statement about the operation.
"The Australian team will be positioned in Christchurch (New Zealand) later today (Aug. 8) and will fly to McMurdo Station when weather and light permit."
AAD director Tony Fleming said all nations with an interest on the icy continent "work together very cooperatively in these sorts of emergency situations in Antarctica to provide support when and as required."
Further details were expected to be released later by U.S. authorities.
Medical evacuations from Antarctica are relatively infrequent, with the last such rescue taking place in October 2011, when a U.S. scientist was airlifted from McMurdo after suffering a stroke at the Amundsen-Scott South Pole Station.
Approximately 30 nations operate permanent research stations in Antarctica including the U.S., China, Russia, Australia, Britain, France and Argentina.
Copyright 2012 AFP Asian Edition