Antarctic Medevac Flight 2013
In the few months before coming down to
Last week we had a medevac flight come down to evacuate a worker who needed further medical care. It wasn’t that our medical staff couldn’t handle this person’s condition (they do amazing with the few resources they have); this person needed more advanced long-term care than could be provided here. The United States Antarctic Program (USAP) has proven again, as it has in the past, that if something really is wrong they will get you out of here.
This was by no means a good thing. We’d be losing a valuable member of our already small community. It also meant thousands of man-hours of work to get the runway cleared of snow and get equipment up out of the cold and running to support a flight. Most of this was done in the extreme cold and limited daylight of the winter.
It was also an opportunity for USAP to correct a few mistakes it had made and to maybe even get a little extra cargo down since major cargo flights won’t start until mid-october.
Instead an empty C-17 was sent to
The plane had more cargo going back to
I won’t rant anymore because I don’t want it to overshadow what the people of McMurdo did to make this flight happen and to save a life.
By this point, much of the mechanical equipment and vehicles have been put to sleep for the winter. This mean all the airfield fire trucks, fuel equipment, runway lights and all the other strange machines that it takes for a plane to land here had to be brought back to the land of living for this flight. Untold hard and painful hours were spent out at the runway digging out the fuel pits and plowing snow off the ice runway. I had a relative small and easy job in this process (simply bring supplies over to the clinic when they were running low on items) so I have a huge amount of respect for everyone who put in more countless hours in this.
It is pretty amazing what people will do for another person. For a few days many people didn't even know who they were building the runway for. Things like this make me proud to be a part of this community.
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