Rescuers on a daring mission to pull a sick worker from a research station in frigid Antarctica announced on Monday they may need to airlift a second patient.
One Twin Otter rescue plane left a British base in Antarctica Tuesday for the 1,500-mile trip to the National Science Foundation’s Amundsen-Scott South Pole Station, with a second aircraft remaining at the base.
Crews equipped the aircraft with skis to land safely on the snow and ice in the dark. It’s the middle of winter in Antarctica, and officials reportedly avoid scheduling any flights to the station between February and October because of the extremely harsh weather.
The station does not have a runway, according to reports.
The National Science Foundation, which runs the South Pole station, decided last week to mount the unusual rescue operation because a staffer needed medical care that can’t be provided at the station.
The foundation did not identify either of the patients, and their conditions are unclear. Officials said the staffer they do plan to airlift works for Lockheed Martin, which provides logistical support.