A group of American scientists was rescued from an island off Antarctica’s coast after ice prevented a U.S. Antarctic Program research vessel from reaching them.
The four U.S. scientists and a support staff member conducting research on Antarctica’s Joinville Island were airlifted by helicopter Sunday from an icebreaker ship dispatched by Argentina, said the National Science Foundation, which funds and manages the Antarctic program.
The group is to be transferred Monday to the Laurence M. Gould research vessel, after which they will travel to Punta Arenas, Chile, on South America's southern tip, Peter West, a spokesman for the foundation, told ABC News on Sunday.
Argentina sent the icebreaker ship after receiving a request for assistance on Friday, the country’s foreign ministry said Saturday. The Argentine ship has helicopters able to reach the group’s camp “regardless of the ice conditions,” the National Science Foundation, a U.S. government agency, said.
The research team was "in no immediate danger, having more than a week's worth of supplies, a safe camp, and communications with the outside world," the foundation said Saturday.
The research party, which was studying ancient climate, was led by Alex Simms of the University of California, Santa Barbara, according to the foundation. An employee of the foundation’s U.S.-based support contractor accompanied the group, the foundation said.