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Sick man awaiting rescue in Antarctica

Mon., Sept. 13, 2010

WELLINGTON, New Zealand – An American in serious medical condition waited for blizzard conditions to ease today so an airplane could land in Antarctica to evacuate him to a hospital in New Zealand, officials said.

A New Zealand air force Orion airplane was on standby to fly to the U.S. McMurdo Station science base on the north Antarctic coast to pick up the man, said Matt Vance, a spokesman for government agency Antarctica New Zealand.

Officials would not identify the man or give details on his medical condition.

Raytheon Polar Services, which runs McMurdo Station for the U.S. National Science Foundation, said the airplane was waiting for the blizzard conditions to clear enough to touch down during the short window of daylight, load the patient, and refuel.

The flight from the southern New Zealand city of Christchurch to McMurdo’s ice runway takes about seven hours.


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