Australia ice­breaker evac­u­ates ill Antarc­tic worker

The China Post - - SPORTS -

A se­ri­ously ill Antarc­tic worker re­turned to Australia on an ice­breaker on Fri­day, which bat­tled freez­ing tem­per­a­tures and a seven-me­ter swell to bring him home.

The Aurora Aus­tralis docked in the south­ern city of Ho­bart, al­most two weeks af­ter evac­u­at­ing the trades­man from Australia’s Davis sta­tion.

“He will re­quire on­go­ing med­i­cal treat­ment but we are very pleased he has trav­eled well over the past cou­ple of weeks and his con­di­tion has not de­te­ri­o­rated,” said Dr Jeff Ay­ton, the chief med­i­cal of­fi­cer with the Aus­tralian Antarc­tic Di­vi­sion.

The sick worker has not been named and no de­tails given of his ill­ness, but Ay­ton said he was a in se­ri­ous but sta­ble con­di­tion and had been trans­ferred to the Royal Ho­bart Hos­pi­tal. An emer­gency call to evac­u­ate the man was made on March 19, prompt­ing the Aurora Aus­tralis — which had left the sta­tion two days ear­lier — to turn back to res­cue him.

The sick man had been in­tend­ing to spend the up­com­ing south­ern hemi­sphere win­ter on Antarc­tica, and his evac­u­a­tion via he­li­copter from the sta­tion to the ship posed a lo­gis­ti­cal chal­lenge given the harsh weather con­di­tions.

“The weather was snow­ing lightly and around mi­nus 10 de­grees but we were able to pick a win­dow be­tween snow showers to get the pa­tient into the he­li­copter and onto the ship,” voy­age leader Andy Cianchi said.

“Once we had the pa­tient aboard it took us a cou­ple of days to slowly break through the sea ice near Davis be­fore fi­nally mak­ing it out into the open South­ern Ocean.”

“The pas­sage back was quite rough at times with wind gusts up to 60 knots, and a 6- to 7-me­ter swell caus­ing the ves­sel to roll heav­ily,” he added.

Ay­ton praised the telemedicine fa­cil­i­ties — sys­tems that al­low med­i­cal care to be pro­vided from a dis­tance — which had helped make the tran­sit a smooth one, and al­lowed for the ship’s doc­tor to be in con­tact with ex­perts al­most 5,000 kilo­me­ters (3,100 miles) away in Australia.

“On the re­turn jour­ney home, across the in­hos­pitable South­ern Ocean, car­ing for the man was a chal­lenge as the ship was a con­stant mov­ing plat­form,” he added.

The Aurora Aus­tralis will now be re­stocked and re­fu­eled for the last voy­age of the sea­son to Mac­quarie Is­land on Mon­day.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Taiwan

© PressReader. All rights reserved.