US scientists rescued from Antarctica by Argentine Navy

Harry Cockburn

US scientists stranded on an Antarctic peninsula have been rescued by the Argentine Navy after thick sea ice prevented their own icebreaker from reaching the team.

The four scientists and a contractor became stranded on Sunday after the US icebreaker Laurence M Gould was unable to reach them on Joinville Island.

The Argentine Navy quickly responded to airlift the researchers to the Almirante Irizar icebreaker. They will be transferred back to the Laurence M Gould when weather conditions improve.

The five are all said to be in good health, according to the Argentine military.

The US National Science Foundation’s Office of Polar Programs said on its Facebook page the rescue of the team of scientists, led by Alexander R. Simms and with one employee of the National Science Foundation’s Colorado-based Antarctic support contractor, took two and a half hours.

All of the team’s equipment was also picked up.

Picture taken by the Argentine Navy shows stranded American scientists on Joinville Island in Antarctica, south of the Argentine mainland. (AP)

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

The Argentine navy published a video of the rescue on Twitter. The footage shows the researchers’ camp on the ice-bound island.