Snow and 48-mile-an-hour winds have grounded two planes trying to rescue a seriously ill worker at the South Pole. The person --whose name hasn't been released -- works for Colorado-based Raytheon Polar Services.
Raytheon is the Antarctic logistics contractor for the National Science Foundation -- which manages the U-S Antarctic research program. Two Twin Otter planes are grounded at an air station. One will fly to the research station and the other will serve as a backup. It's 13-hundred miles from the air station to the South Pole and the roundtrip flight is 30 hours.
Raytheon's medical director was airlifted from the South Pole in April 2001 for gall bladder surgery when he diagnosed his own illness. In 1999, Dr. Jerri Nielsen was flown out of Amundsen-Scott South Pole Station after detecting her own breast cancer.