A Royal New Zealand Air Power plane has accomplished a high-risk mission to evacuate an injured particular person from Antarctica.
The C-130 Hercules, with 13 crew on board, together with two Defence Power medical personnel, left Christchurch late final evening, sure for McMurdo Station.
They landed again in Christchurch this afternoon.
In winter, it’s darkish in Antarctica 24 hours a day, so the crew used evening imaginative and prescient goggles to land the plane at the hours of darkness on the ice runway.
It’s the first time the Air Power has flown a medevac mission to Antarctica utilizing this expertise.
The affected person, who’s a member of the USA Antarctic Program, was not affected by life-threatening accidents and is now receiving additional medical remedy.
Air Commodore Shaun Sexton stated the Defence Power had been offering help to Antarctica New Zealand and the USA Antarctic Program for a few years, however missions like this didn’t occur typically.
RNZAF Base Auckland commander group captain Andy Scott stated the workforce had been attempting to get to Antarctica since final Saturday, however poor climate had hampered efforts all week.
“Flying to Antarctica is without doubt one of the highest danger missions we fly as a result of lack of divert airfields and incapacity to get down and again with out refuelling,” he stated.
“The crews subsequently are extremely skilled to analyse the state of affairs almost about the climate and the airfield state earlier than making a choice to proceed.
“Flying in winter presents much more challenges as a result of excessive chilly, the quickly altering climate and little to no visible warnings of the adjustments you’ll ‘see’ in summer season.”
The Phoenix airfield at McMurdo was ready by floor crew in Antarctica who made certain the runway was lit and that it was protected for the plane to land.
The plane refuelled at McMurdo whereas the affected person was picked up earlier than getting airborne a short while later.