A plane carrying two rescued sick workers of a remote US South Pole station safely left Antarctica and is expected to arrive in Chile to give medical care to the employees.

The rescue team flew on a Canadian-owned Twin Otter airplane over 1,500 miles from British research station Rothera, located in Antarctica, to the U.S. Amundsen-Scott station at the South Pole, owned by the National Science Foundation, where two workers were reported as sick, and the other staff members asked for rescue.

South Pole rescue flight of 2 sick workers leaves Antarctica. Image Credit: North Jersey
South Pole rescue flight of 2 sick workers leaves Antarctica. Image Credit: North Jersey

The team left the South Pole station on early Wednesday, then flew back to Rothera with the two workers on board, and arrived at one p.m. ET., as declared by Peter West, spokesman for the National Science Foundation, according to The Washington Post. Two days of flying in total were needed to accomplish the rescue mission.

In Rothera, the workers were moved to a second plane, which a few hours later left to Punta Arenas, Chile, where the rescued workers will receive medical attention as soon as they arrive, expected to be on Wednesday evening.

Until Wednesday, it wasn’t known if the evacuation of the second worker was necessary

While in Rothera, the rescue crew did not know whether they would pick only one or both of the workers. Carrying the second operator would mean to add more weight of the load, putting in risk the entire mission, so they needed to define the if he was ill enough.

According to Fox6Now.com, West stated that the National Science Foundation would not have risked a fly if the first worker’s life were not in absolute danger. So, although the US Agency hasn’t specified the conditions of the employees, it is implied that both of them were severely ill.

The rescue mission was qualified as a dangerous one, because of the weather and the distance. At Rothera the temperature reached 27.5 degrees, while the Amundsen-Scott research station registered minus 75 degrees.

Winter in the South Pole begins in February and ends in October. Darkness and cold during these months make the conditions extremely dangerous for planes to arrive there. The extreme cold affects mechanisms of aircraft, including fuel and batteries. The Twin Otter planes were sent because they can resist until minus 103 degrees, declared West.

Currently, there are 48 people working at Amundsen-Scott station, including a doctor and a physician’s assistant, but in some cases, they cannot provide the medical care their workers need.

The Amundsen-Scott station has been active since 1956, to make scientifical studies for astronomy, physics, and environmental issues.

Source: The Washington Post