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Rescue Of South Pole Doctor Delayed

By Digital Journal Staff     Apr 23, 2001 in Technology
PUNTA ARENAS, Chile — Bad weather forced a 24-hour postponement Sunday of a potentially risky flight from Antarctica to the South Pole to evacuate an ailing American doctor working at the end of the world.
The decision was made in the face of strong winds and low visibility, said Alerie Carroll, a spokeswoman for Raytheon Polar Services, the civilian company that provides staff and support services for U.S. Antarctic programs.
In Santiago, the weather bureau confirmed the bad weather conditions in the area.
The two eight-seater propeller rescue planes remain at Rothera base on Adelaide Island in Antarctica, were they landed the day before after a six hour flight from Punta Arenas, Chile's southernmost city.
Ronald S. Shemenski, 59, is the only physician among 50 scientists working at the Amundsen Scott-South Pole station in Antarctica. He recently suffered a gall bladder attack and has been diagnosed with the potentially life-threatening condition known as pancreatitis.
The takeoff of one of the planes for the daring 10-hour flight to the Pole was scheduled for early Sunday, after its landing gear was changed to skis that can land on ice.
The flight has now been scheduled for Monday morning.
In a separate rescue effort Monday, the New Zealand Air Force was to airlift four Americans in need of medical attention out of McMurdo Station, a research station elsewhere on the other continent.
More about Antarctica, North pole, Sick, Doctor, Health