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

Aerial view of Australia's Davis station, Antarctica.
A medical evacuation is underway at Davis station. (Photo: Glenn Jacobson)
Australia's orange icebreaker ship Aurora Australis in a sea of icebergs.

Australia’s icebreaker, Aurora Australis, has been diverted to undertake a medical evacuation at Australia’s Davis station.

A male wintering expeditioner is in a serious but stable condition after becoming ill in the past 24 hours.

He is under the care of the station doctor and the Australian Antarctic Division’s Polar Medicine Unit.

The Aurora Australis was on the way back to Australia after resupplying Davis station, but has now turned around to retrieve the patient.

The ship is currently 300 nautical miles in a direct line to Davis, but it will have to travel 400 nautical miles to reach the station due to current sea ice conditions.

As soon as the ship is within fly off range and weather conditions permit, the patient will be transferred to the Aurora Australis.

Current weather forecast for the next 40 hours is poor, so the ship will attempt to get as close to station as possible.

The Aurora Australis will also need to take on additional fuel at Davis before heading back to Australia.

The ship is not expected to return to Australia for at least two weeks. This will delay the final voyage of the season to Macquarie Island.

An update will be provided at 11AM AEDST Friday 20 March 2015.

11:00AM UPDATE: 19 March 2015

A medical evacuation of a seriously ill Antarctic expeditioner at Australia’s Davis station is underway.

The wintering expeditioner’s health has rapidly declined and requires return to Australia.

The patient is in a stable condition and receiving medical care.

Australia’s icebreaker, Aurora Australis, which left Davis station two days ago, has turned around to pick up the expeditioner.

The ship has four helicopters and 114 people on board and is currently 320 nautical miles from the station.

The Australian Antarctic Division is planning to transfer the patient to the ship by helicopter as soon as it is within fly-off range and weather conditions allow.

An update will provided on the medical evacuation at 3PM today at the Australian Antarctic Division headquarters in Kingston.

If the situation changes updates will be issued.