Canadians make dangerous flight to South Pole for rescue

Medical emergency at Antarctica station forces evacuation

Canadians make dangerous flight to South Pole for rescue

World Bulletin / News Desk

Three Canadians landed a Twin Otter airplane at the South Pole’s Amundsen-Scott station Tuesday and will attempt a dangerous and rare medical evacuation.

It is mid-winter in Antarctica and that means extreme weather conditions, where jet fuel can freeze due to low temperatures, CTV News reported.

The flight, undertaken to bring back an American who needs medical care that cannot be provided at the station, left from the Rothera Station in Chile and covered 2,400 kilometers (1,491 miles) during nine hours over the dark, barren continent where the temperature was -60C (-76F), before it landed at the Amundsen-Scott station.

The plane belongs to Calgary, Alberta’s Kenn Borek Air and the trip is regarded as dangerous -- in 2013, three Canadians from Kenn Borek died when their plane crashed in the Queen Alexandra mountain range in Antarctica.

In fact, the winter weather is so unpredictable that only three emergency evacuations have been conducted since 1999, two of them by Kenn Borek Air.

The plane will not leave from the South Pole for a return flight until Wednesday, weather permitting.

“The plane will now remain at the pole for roughly 10 hours to allow the aircrew to rest,” according to a statement from the U.S. National Science Foundation. “The crew will then assess weather conditions at both the pole and the British Antarctic Survey’s Rothera Station before flying back to Rothera.”

Flights are usually not attempted between February and October due to the freezing temperatures and darkness.

The plane has special adaptations, including skis, to allow it to land on snow. A similar plane remained at Rothera to be ready to conduct a search-and-rescue mission in case the first plane runs into trouble, CTV News reported.

Officials are still considering whether a second person at the South Pole station needs to be evacuated, as well, the Canadian Press reported.

The Amundsen-Scott research station is one of three manned all year, the U.S. National Science Foundation told CTV News, with 48 people studying a variety of things, such as greenhouse gasses, black holes and the history of the universe.

Last Mod: 22 Haziran 2016, 13:14
Add Comment