Australians in Antarctic rescue mission

Australians in Antarctic rescue mission

Australians in Antarctic rescue mission

Updated 9 August 2012, 8:30 AEST

A team from the Australian Antarctic Division (AAD) is waiting for clear weather to fly to Antarctica to help an American expeditioner needing medical treatment.

The AAD is supplying a medical team of five people and an airbus for what is being called a medical emergency at the US base McMurdo Station.

The team will leave Christchurch in New Zealand and fly 3,800 kilometres to the station on the southern tip of Ross Island.

McMurdo is experiencing temperatures of minus 25 degrees Celsius, but as the supply station for the US Antarctic program, it has a runway that is open all year round.

Peter West from the US Polar Program says rescuers are waiting for the all-clear to fly from Christchurch.

"Weather is difficult to predict in Antarctica, even in the height of summer it's difficult to predict weather," he said,

"So I'd imagine those who are planning the flights will be keeping an eye on the specific weather conditions when the flights are ready to go."

No details are being released about the person's condition, gender or occupation.

"The reason for occupation, which may seem strange, is it's a very small population relatively speaking now at McMurdo," he said.

"It's the winter population and so, of course, any specifics would make it a little easier to identify somebody and we are respecting the privacy of the person."