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Australian who fell ill at remote Antarctic base rescued after daunting mission, authorities say


Penguins are seen on an iceberg as scientists study the impact of climate change on Antarctic penguin colonies, on the northern side of the Antarctic Peninsula, Antarctica January 15, 2022. Picture taken January 15, 2022. FILE PHOTO REUTERS

WELLINGTON, New Zealand — An Australian who fell ill at a remote Antarctic base is returning home on an icebreaker after an arduous mission to save him, authorities said Tuesday.

The man was working at the Casey Research Station when he suffered from what authorities described as a developing health condition requiring specialist assessment and care.

The RSV Nuyina icebreaker left Australia last week and traveled more than 3,000 kilometers (1,800 miles) south, cutting through sea ice to reach a location 144 kilometers (89 miles) from the base, the Australian Antarctic Division said in a statement.

From there, two helicopters were deployed from the deck on Sunday and arrived at the base after nearly an hour to rescue the man.

“The first phase of the evacuation was successfully and safely completed and the ship is now en route to Hobart,” said Robb Clifton, the division’s acting general manager of operations and logistics. “Bringing this expeditionary back to Tasmania for the specialist medical treatment required is our priority.”

The man is expected to arrive in Australia next week. Until then, Clifton said, he would be treated at the icebreaker’s specially equipped medical facilities by polar doctors and staff from the Royal Hobart Hospital.

Authorities said they were withholding the man’s name or medical condition to protect his privacy.

During the austral summer, more than 150 people work at the Casey research station. But during the winter, there are less than twenty left to carry out maintenance work.

The division said all other people working at Australian bases in Antarctica were found and safe.


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Merry C. Vega is a highly respected and accomplished news author. She began her career as a journalist, covering local news for a small-town newspaper. She quickly gained a reputation for her thorough reporting and ability to uncover the truth.

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