US scientists rescued from Antarctica

Argentine helicopter landing to rescue stranded American scientists on Joinville Island in Antarctica, south of the Argentine mainland. (Argentina Navy via AP)

BUENOS AIRES, AP – A group of American scientists stranded on an ice-bound island off the northeastern tip of the Antarctic Peninsula have been rescued by an Argentine icebreaker.

The four scientists and a support staff member, who were conducting research at Joinville Island, were airlifted by helicopter to the Almirante Irizar icebreaker on Monday.

Argentina’s Foreign Ministry said that the US icebreaker Laurence M Gould was unable to carry out the evacuation because the ice barrier was too dense on the Weddell Sea in front of the island that is south of the Argentine mainland. The US Antarctic Program then requested assistance from Argentina.

Argentina’s armed forces said that the five are in good health and will be transferred to the US vessel when weather conditions improve.

The US National Science Foundation’s Office of Polar Programs said the scientists are led by Alexander Simms, an associate professor of earth sciences at the University of California, Santa Barbara. The support staff member is an employee of the NSF’s Colorado-based Antarctic support contractor.

“The US Antarctic Program expresses its gratitude to their Argentine colleagues for their willingness to help,” it said.

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