Full power and communications have been restored to Australia’s Antarctic station of Casey following an electrical power surge yesterday which set off automatic fire extinguishers, causing damage to three service buildings.

The incident, which happened on Monday around midday Casey time (3pm Australian Eastern Summer Time), cut the station’s power and communications.

All 51 expedition members at the station are unharmed and well. The incident was reported via emergency communications links to the Australian Antarctic Division headquarters at Kingston, Tasmania.

The Director of the Australian Antarctic Division, Dr Tony Press, paid tribute to the rapid and effective response of the station’s emergency crews.

“What might have been a major setback for the station, with a loss of power and communications, has quickly been set right because of the professionalism and skill of Station Leader Paul Cullen and his team,” Dr Press said.

The cause of the incident is being investigated by technical experts at Casey and Kingston. A final determination of the cause may take some weeks.

Casey, on the coast of Antarctica about 3430km southwest of Hobart, is one of four permanent Australian Antarctic and sub-Antarctic stations.