A member of the U.S. government Antarctic expedition who needed emergency surgery was evacuated by an Australian team on Thursday.
“The patient has been taken to (a) hospital for treatment in Christchurch,” spokeswoman Patti Lucas of the Australian Antarctic Division (AAD) research program said.
Temperatures hit -13 F at the station during the rescue. The station is one of just three outposts manned year-round by the U.S. National Science Foundation for research. Aside from the temperatures, conditions were reported as perfect during the rescue. Typically, flights are only made to Antarctica during the summer months but the NSF said that the person at the station, who was not identified, needed immediate surgery.
The station, named McMurdo, was opened in 1955 and is the largest in Antarctica, according to the NSF. The station’s description, from the U.S. Antarctic Program website, says:
“McMurdo Station … the main U.S. station in Antarctica, is a coastal station at the southern tip of Ross Island, about 3,864 km (2,415 miles) south of Christchurch, New Zealand, and 1,360 km (850 miles) north of the South Pole. The original station was built in 1955 to 1956 for the International Geophysical Year. Today’s station is the primary logistics facility for supply of inland stations and remote field camps, and is also the waste management center for much of the U.S. Antarctic Program. Year-round and summer science projects are supported at McMurdo.”