Medevac 1989


Donny Stewart

The 1989 winter ended and relief started with the medi-vac of the Bransfield's 1st mate, who was uplifted by a C130 which had flown in via the Pole from McMurdo. When at Halley the C130 crew had orders to keep the engines running but we could not refuel her from 45 gallon drums as quickly as the C130's engines burned fuel. They had only enough fuel to stay on the ground at Halley with engines idling for an absolute maximum of 20 minutes. The C130's arrival was closely timed to match the arrival of the Bransfield which disembarked the 1st mate onto a makeshift ambulance (a tented cargo sledge towed behind a sno-cat). This brought him off the sea ice and up the ice ramp to the ice shelf and the makeshift 3 mile long airstrip which had been laid out during the previous night in preparation for the C130's arrival.

All of this took place during a magnetic storm so we had virtually no comms with either Bransfield, Pole or McMurdo but I am pleased to say that thanks to the hard work of all involved, the patient was safely in hospital in Christchurch within 12 hours. The emergency was sparked off when he was discovered unconscious at his desk.

[13 June 2006]

21 July 2006
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