Monday, September 25, 2023

Sick Scientist Stranded in Antarctica Rescued by Icebreaker Despite Harsh Winter Conditions

A sick scientist stranded in Antarctica was rescued by an icebreaker that traveled thousands of miles toward the icy continent, according to reports on Monday, September 4. An aircraft rescue was not possible due to Antarctica’s harsh winter conditions.

This is also the reason why the Australian scientist, who was suffering from an undisclosed medical condition, was not able to seek an immediate air evacuation.

The icebreaker vessel called RSV Nuyina traveled approximately 2,000 miles from the state of Tasmania, Australia. The ship passed through chunks of sea ice before it arrived at the Petersen Bank, located 90 miles from the Casey Research Station in Antarctica. The scientist was onboarded Nuyina on Sunday, September 3. There are no indications reported that would link the Antarctic winter weather.

Although there have been no native or permanent human populations in Antarctica, only scientists and research personnel are based in the continent but on a rotation basis. One of the evidence reasons for the absence of human settlements in Antarctica is due to its average freezing or sub-freezing temperatures; this is especially the case during the frozen landscape’s winter season which spans from March to October.

Australia Rescues Sick Scientist

(Photo : Photo by James Eades on Unsplash)

The Australian researcher works at the Casey Research Station, a remote outpost in Antarctica. It is also one of the three research stations in the continent operated by the Australian Antarctic Division.

The urgent rescue operation started last week before reaching the sick scientist, which was attended by a medical retrieval team, with the help of two helicopters, before being sent to the massive icebreaker ship. The emergency transport was required since medical facilities and equipment are limited at the Casey station.

Also Read: Study Reveals Each Tourist Visiting Antarctica Melts Up to 83 Metric Tons of Snow

What is Antarctica Like in Winter?

If the Northern Hemisphere’s winter season spans from December to February or early March, it is opposite for the Southern Hemisphere, which includes Antarctica. Despite being a cold wasteland throughout the year, Antarctic weather still gets colder during the winter, with the other season being summer that spans from October to March.

According to the website, the average temperature across Antarctica in winter is -34.4 degrees Celsius, with temperatures rare go above the freezing point of 0 degree Celsius. Antarctic seasons also affect the activities of the mentioned humans, as well as wildlife, living in the continent. During the winter, few people remain due to the extremely cold weather, making transport to and from research stations difficult.

Are There Researchers in Antarctica?

Working in Antarctica is not one’s typical site since cold temperatures, as well as prolonged daylight and nighttime hours, also affect its temporary human inhabitants.

Aside from scientists, researchers in Antarctica also require other workers like cooks, medics, and other support staff, according to the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Employees or contractors at research stations in the icy continent hail from various countries worldwide.

For instance, the United States sends approximately 3,200 people to Antarctica every year, mainly to engage in scientific research and work at several research stations, the U.S. university reported. Art-related jobs are also available in Antarctica since it has its own paper called, the Antarctic Sun.

Related Article: Antarctica: Dormant Underwater Volcano Awakens, Causes 85,000 Earthquake Swarms

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