June 17, 2016

"Two small bush planes are flying to the South Pole this week to evacuate workers at the Amundsen-Scott research station — a feat rarely attempted during the middle of the Antarctic winter."

Washington Post: Kelly Falkner, the director of polar programs for the National Science Foundation (which runs the South Pole station), said that at least one seasonal employee for contractor Lockheed Martin requires medical treatment not available at the station and needs to be flown out. By Sarah Kaplan

'A second worker may also be rescued. Falkner couldn't provide further details about the medical motivation behind the rescues for privacy reasons.

'"We try to balance our decisions with all of the risks involved," Falkner said. Other factors include the condition of the patients, the safety of the flight crew and the needs of the 48 people overwintering at Amundsen-Scott.

'"It's a very serious decision that we take to move in this direction," she said.

'Roughly 50 people overwinter at the Amundsen-Scott station each year, most of them employed by the NSF or lead contractor Lockheed Martin. They help maintain the station, oversee long-term monitoring of the atmosphere and climate change, conduct research on the early history of the universe via two radio telescopes, and observe the behavior of subatomic particles using at the station's IceCube Neutrino Observatory.'

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