Antarctica, Photo Credit of NASA.
All photos and text in italics are courtesy of the Internet, the National Science Foundation and other journalists and photographers who have followed this rescue and evacuation from start to successful ending.
There was very little coverage of this on TVNZ, and I have to thank Julie Palais ( Program Director at NSF) for her updates on Facebook.
A Twin Otter Plane lands at Amundsen-Scott South Pole Station, photo is courtesy of Robert Schwarz, National Science Foundation ( NSF) June 2016.
On Tuesday 14th June, 2 Twin Otter planes from Kenn Borek Air Limited left Calgary , Alberta, Canada, on their journey to the South Pole, to evacuate a seriously ill worker, a seasonal worker with Lockheed Martin at the Scott-Amundsen base who required hospitalisation. This is mid winter there, no daylight, temperatures about minus 60 Celsius, (-70F) with the wind chill bringing it down to minus 75 Celsius.. The distance is a staggering 16,700 km, or 10,376 miles. On each plane there was a pilot, co-pilot, engineer and a medical team member.
Kenn Borek Air has a fleet of 43 aircraft including 26 de Havilland Canada DHC-6 Twin Otter.
On 26 April 2001, Kenn Borek Air used a DHC-6 Twin Otter aircraft to rescue Dr. Ron Shemenski from the Amundsen–Scott South Pole Station. This was the first ever rescue from the South Pole during polar winter. To achieve the range necessary for this flight, the Twin Otter was equipped with a special ferry tank.
Details of the DHC-6 Twin Otter for you who like technical details.
The aircraft's fixed tricycle undercarriage, STOL ( Short take-off and Landing) abilities and high rate of climb have made it a successful cargo, passenger, and medical evacuation plane.
Maximum Seating: 19 passengers, 2 pilots
Maximum Payload: 3,500 pounds
Cargo Door Size: 56" x 50"
Baggage Area: 126 cubic feet
Maximum Range: 4.5 hours, 750 miles
Cruise Speed: 165 mph
Fully I.F.R. Equipped, Including Global Positioning System
Operates on small wheels, floats, skis, wheel skis, tundra tires
Twin Pratt and Whitney PT6A-27 turbines rated at 620 shaft horsepower each
Kenn Borek DHC-6 300 on skis at Rothera, Antarctica. Photo courtesy Internet.
This was a huge undertaking and and included contribution from many areas , weather forecasts from the U.S. Navy’s Space and Naval Warfare Systems ( SPAWAR) Centre Atlantic, expertise from the University of Texas Medical Branch, various contributions from ASC., NSF’s Colorado based Antarctic logistics contractor as well as assistance from other nations.All those at airports who gave flight tracking data information and updates.
Tuesday 14th June 2016.
From Calgary to Denver, Colorado, 5 1/2 hours, 1447 km (899 miles)
Denver to Texas 1495 km (928 miles)
Texas to Liberia ( Daniel Oduber Intl, Airport) 2306 km (1432 miles)
Liberia to Ecuador 1446 km ( 899 miles)
Ecuador to Punta Arenas 5932 km (3685 miles)
Punta Arenas to Rothera 1612 km (1001 miles)
Rothera to South Pole 2497 km, (1551 miles) a 10 hour flight.
The planes arrived at Rothera on June 20th.’The plane had to be fitted with skis to enable it to land at the South Pole, where there is only compacted snow for a runway. One plane flew to the South Pole, the other remained at Rothera as a back-up if a rescue was needed.
Thursday, June 23, 2016, 2:36 PM - Canadian aircraft have completed the medical evacuation of two people working at a research base in Antarctica.
The two workers, details of whose condition have not been released, were extracted from a base at the South Pole, which is enduring the harsh conditions of the Antarctic winter, and ferried by two Canadian-owned Twin Otter aircraft to Chile. The patients were later taken to an undisclosed medical facility.
One of the Twin Otters flew from the British Antarctic Survey's Rothera Station some 2,400 km to the U.S. National Science Foundation's Amundsen-Scott research base at the South Pole. After arrival, the crew rested 10 hours, after which the weather conditions were deemed suitable to fly out with the two patients, along with a medical technician.
That Twin Otter returned safely to Rothera, where the patients were transferred to a second Twin Otter, which flew them to Punta Arenas in southern Chile. They arrived safely on Wednesday.
I am sure that all who were involved in this mission can be grateful for a successful outcome, and those of us who cannot imagine the vastness of Antarctica can read that it is larger than USA, sorry all my friends in Canada, I could not find the overlay map for you. But Antarctica is about 1.4 times as big as Canada. This is USA overlaid on Antarctica.
Quotation of the day from Dr Martin Luther King Jr.,
“ Our lives begin to end
the day we become silent about things that matter”
Greetings from Jean