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Air Force Makes Frosty Antarctic Rescue

• Spencer Ackerman via
This is a contender for Best Medical Evacuation Ever. When a contractor at the huge U.S. science center in Antarctica got sick, Air Force pilots strapped on night-vision goggles to fly a C-17 around volcanic ash clouds to get the guy out of the frigid wasteland. And they started out in Washington State.

C-17s might be big cargo planes, weighing in at 190,000 pounds. But the Air Force has gotten used to landing them on icy Antarctic runways to make resupply runs for the McMurdo science station. The temperature there right now is minus 13 degrees Fahrenheit. Imagine going from Joint Base Lewis-McChord’s balmy 52 to that.


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