An Australian who fell ill at a remote base in Antarctica is returning home on an icebreaker after an arduous rescue mission, authorities said on Tuesday.
The man was working at Casey Research Station when he was suffering from a developing health condition that authorities said required specialist evaluation and care.
Icebreaker RSV Nuyina left Australia last week and traveled more than 3,000 kilometers (1,800 miles) south, plowing through sea ice to reach a site 144 kilometers (89 miles) from base, the icebreaker said in an Australian Antarctic Division Statement.
From there, two helicopters took off from the ship’s deck on Sunday and arrived at the base almost an hour later to rescue the man.
“The first phase of the evacuation was carried out safely and successfully, and the ship is now on her return voyage to Hobart,” said Robb Clifton, the department’s interim general manager of operations and logistics. “Our priority is to get this expedition member back to Tasmania for the special medical attention he needs.”
The man is expected to arrive in Australia next week. Until then, he will be cared for in the icebreaker’s specially equipped medical facility by polar medicine doctors and staff from the Royal Hobart Hospital.
Authorities said they would not release the man’s name or medical condition to protect his privacy.
More than 150 people work at Casey Research Station during the summer. But in the winter, fewer than 20 remain to carry out maintenance work.
The department said all other people working at Australian bases in Antarctica have been held accountable and are safe.