A rescue flight brought back two seriously ill workers from the American Amundsen-Scott South Pole station on Wednesday night (1:40GMT), the AFP reports. The mission battled extreme weather conditions in the midst of the southern hemisphere’s winter: The station recorded yesterday’s temperature ranged from -62 degrees Celsius (-79 degrees Fahrenheit) to -83 degrees (-117 degrees Fahrenheit) including the windchill factor.
According a statement from the National Science Foundation, which operates the station, two rescue planes were launched June 14 from Calgary, Canada. They both stopped in Rothera, a research station on the Antarctic Peninsula. One continued for 1,500 miles to the station, located 250 meters from the southern most place on earth. The mission took place in round-the-clock darkness – the sun won’t rise over the South Pole until September.
The Amundsen-Scott station’s research projects include monitoring long-term carbon dioxide concentration in the atmosphere. It also studies the origin of the universe, dark energy and dark matters by observing a faint light left over from the Big Bang, according to the AFP.
The patients’ identities and medical conditions were not released because of medical privacy. Despite the darkness, the station can be seen on a high-sensitivity live webcam.
Correction: An earlier version of this article indicated only one plane operated the rescue mission. Two were involved.