Expeditioner rescued in Antarctica after ‘challenging’ 5-day mission

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Dec. 25 (UPI) — Authorities say an expeditioner has been evacuated from Antarctica after a five-day mission that involved Australian, Chinese and American rescuers.

The search effort utilized ships, helicopters and planes and covered thousands of miles in east Antarctica, officials said.

The expeditioner, an Australian citizen, was rescued from the country’s Davis research station in what officials described as a “complex and challenging” evacuation.

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“We’ve been doing these medevacs for a long time, but this particular operation was in the very best spirit of that multinational cooperation,” Australian Antarctic Division Director Kim Ellis said in a statement.

“Antarctica really brings nations together to support each other in our operations.”

Officials said a Chinese icebreaker happened to be nearby when the rescue operation began early this week. Helicopters from the vessel helped transport rescuers.

U.S. officials also sent a ski-equipped plane 1,400 miles from McMurdo research station to Australia’s Wilkins Aerodrome to pick up a doctor en route to the Davis research station, where they then put the expeditioner on the aircraft and returned to Australia.

The Australian government has not said what kind of medical emergency occurred, but did say it wasn’t COVID-19-related.

“I’m particularly grateful to the Australian expeditioners who displayed courage and resilience and skill, deploying to remote airfields and ski-ways and working in tough conditions,” Ellis added.

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