3:00PM UPDATE: Medical evacuation at Australian Antarctic station

The Aurora Australis returns to Davis station
The Aurora Australis returns to Davis station (Photo: David Barringhaus/Australian Antarctic Division)
A helicopter takes off from Aurora Australis during refuelling operations at Australia’s Davis station A helicopter pulls fuel lines ashore from the Aurora Australis during refuelling operations at Australia’s Davis stationHelicopter lands at Australia’s Davis station during refuelling operations The Aurora Australis at anchor at Davis station Aerial view of Davis station

Antarctic expeditioners at Australia’s Davis station are working around the clock to refuel the icebreaker Aurora Australis before transferring a seriously ill man to the ship.

The Aurora Australis returned to Davis late yesterday afternoon after being tasked to evacuate the sick expeditioner earlier in the week.

The man’s condition has not deteriorated further and he is in a serious but stable condition.

Australian Antarctic Division Operations Manager Robb Clifton, said the team on the ship and at Davis are working in shifts to get fuel transferred in the current calm weather conditions.

“At the moment the temperature is hovering around minus 10 degrees with only five knots of wind, so we are trying to get as much fuel pumped aboard as possible,” Mr Clifton said.

“As the ice in the harbour was quite thick we decided to use a helicopter, rather than a barge, to drag the fuel hose ashore and connect to the Davis supply.

“We are hoping we will have enough fuel aboard by late this afternoon and can then transfer the patient later this evening or tomorrow morning.”

The Division’s ship doctor has been flown ashore to assess the ill expeditioner and assist the station doctor.

The Australian Antarctic Division has rescheduled its final voyage of the season to Macquarie Island, which was due to depart Hobart on April 2. This will now not leave until April 5 at the earliest.