Russia rescues stranded polar scientists
MOSCOW: Russian helicopters plucked a team of stranded scientists from deep within the Arctic Circle on Saturday after their research station was all but crushed beneath a wall of ice, officials told Reuters.
Emergency teams flew four hours from one of Europe’s most northerly settlements to reach the Severny Polyus-32 station, where the 12 unharmed researchers huddled for three days in temperatures of minus 39 Celsius (minus 38 Fahrenheit).
“Two helicopters on Saturday evening delivered the 12 explorers from Severny Polyus-32 to (Norway’s Arctic Spitzbergen archipelago),” an emergencies ministry spokesman said.
The meteorologists raised the alarm on Wednesday, after their windswept outpost was decimated by a 10-metre (30-foot) high ice wall that reared up from the surrounding floe and drove much of the base down into the icy water beneath.
The freak incident left them stranded in the tattered remnants of their accommodation, 700 km (450 miles) from the nearest land on a drifting ice floe.
Authorities launched a rescue mission but progress was hampered by vast distances and freezing conditions in Europe’s Arctic north, and by difficulties in landing heavy helicopters on the sheet ice under the base. —Reuters