SANTIAGO – What was to be a simple shift of scientists from the Polish station Henryk Arcotowski in the Antarctica Peninsula turned out into a dramatic rescue operation, involving the Chilean Air Force, after the three were stranded in a Zodiac for over three hours five miles offshore surrounded by ice and freezing winds.
Apparently the Zodiac suffered a mechanical breakdown while cruising the Admiralty bay leaving the Polish scientists exposed to the harsh climate conditions of Antarctica.
However a rescue message was received at the Chilean base, Eduardo Frei Montalva, located in King George island which also has a landing strip from where short take off planes operate.
A Chilean Bell helicopter 412 took off from the landing strip, Lieutenant Rodolfo Marsh, and headed for the rescue operation which was to take place some 25 kilometers away. Once the Zodiac was sighted, a special basket to rescue people at sea level was launched, and one by one, the three scientists were lifted and taken back to safety to the Polish base.
Following the successful operation, the Chilean Air Force IVth. Brigade which is stationed at the Frei Montalva base on King George island said in a brief release that its men and equipment are on 365 day watch alert for Search and Rescue operations to address emergency situations, and ensure connectivity with the rest of Chilean and foreign bases in Antarctica.–MercoPress