The medical rescue of an American working in Antarctica is being hailed a success after good weather allowed a plane to land on an ice runway at McMurdo Station.
News.com.au reports a medical team from Australia was able to land on the ice runway known as Pegasus, at McMurdo Station, with temperatures around -25C but otherwise perfect conditions and even some twilight, as Antarctica emerges from winter where it is dark 24-hours a day.
The 5 member medical team from the Australian government Antarctic Division flew 5 hours from New Zealand after getting a call for help from the US National Science Foundation (NSF) yesterday. News.com.au reports a statement issued by the NSF reads, "The patient, whose identity NSF is not releasing, is currently stable but may require immediate corrective surgery best delivered at a more capable facility than is available at McMurdo." "The facility at McMurdo is equivalent to an urgent-care centre in the US and is not equipped for the type of procedure being contemplated." There is no word on the nature of the illness or injury.
Once the Airbus A319 plane landed, the team spent an hour on the ground with the patient, who then received more treatment on board the plane on its 5 hour flight back to Christchurch, New Zealand.
Australian Antarctic Division Director Dr. Tony Fleming tells the Daily Mail, "All nations work together very cooperatively in these sorts of emergency situations in Antarctica to provide support when and as required."
The Daily Mail reports this isn't the first medical rescue mission to the Antarctic. Probably the most famous was that of Dr. Jerri Nielson back in 1999. She had diagnosed herself as having breast cancer after she found a lump. The US Air Force parachuted chemotherapy drugs for her to treat herself until she could be rescued.
In October of last year an American Researcher was rescued by the US Airforce after suffering a suspected stroke.