FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE - CALGARY, ALBERTA- JUNE 24, 2016
Kenn Borek Air Ltd. Completes Medevac of South Pole Workers
Kenn Borek Air Ltd. was retained by the US National Science Foundation to complete a medical evacuation of two workers from the Amundson Scott South Pole station to Punta Arena, Chile. With the assistance of many of the scientific and government agencies who work at and support Antarctic scientific activities, as well as KBA’s international logistical support network, the mission was completed successfully and the aircraft are enroute back to their Calgary, Alberta home base.
We thank Peter West who gracefully handled public relations on behalf of NSF and KBA during the critical phases of the mission, as well as the many agencies and handlers that assisted us with this project.
There were many KBA staff involved in the planning and preparation for this project, and as a result, we were able to respond quickly and positively to the request. Our staff are accustomed to providing specialized air services on short notice and at distant and remote locations. We are proud of our ability to offer a rare level of reliability and dependability to our customers.
This project was led by Brian Crocker, Vice President Operations, and ably supported from the maintenance side of the house by Peter Brown, Maintenance Manager. The folks who provided support from both the Operations and Maintenance teams are too numerous to mention, but I would like to thank everyone for their dedication and assistance. The crews who flew the mission were handpicked as specialists with Antarctic operations experience, and there was no hesitation on anyone’s part in accepting the assignment.
The Twin Otter aircraft used are short take off and landing 19 passenger utility aircraft which can be deployed on skiis, wheel skiis, floats, regular wheels, and oversized tundra tires allowing them to be used for landing in places there are no runways. These robust aircraft have been in service for many years and are now manufactured and supported by Viking Air of Victoria, British Columbia. The aircraft used were specially equipped for this mission with extra range fuel tanks and other specialty gear.
Aircraft C-GKBG completed the flight to the South Pole and back to Rothera. It is captained by Wallace Dobchuk, KBA chief pilot, the first officer is Sebastian Trudel, and the Aircraft Maintenance Engineer is Michael McCrae. After completing the flight from the South Pole, the crew took required rest in Rothera while the aircraft C-GKBO completed the crossing of the Drake Passage back to Punta Arenas Chile with the patients. Aircraft C-GKBO is captained by James Haffey, who was also the “I have your back pilot” on the 2003 South Pole rescue mission. First officer is Lindsay Owen, and the Aircraft Maintenance Engineer is Gerald Cirtwill. Gerald has previously led recovery crews on major aircraft incident recoveries in Antarctica. KBO is presently holding in Punta Arena, Chile awaiting the arrival of aircraft KBG.
A first class crew, and we are thankful that they performed their mission professionally and without incident.
Kenn Borek Air Ltd.
As the aircraft are enroute, we respectfully request the crew’s privacy be respected until they have completed their flights home.
KBA will schedule a press conference at its Calgary hangar facility after the aircraft have returned. Contact Donny Krahn, Administrative Assistant at firstname.lastname@example.org for scheduling information if you would like to participate in the press conference.
About Kenn Borek Air Ltd.
KBAL is a Canadian air carrier offering specialized air services in Northern Canada, Antarctica, and many other parts of the world. The company also offers aircraft maintenance, leasing and management services to other operators.
ANTARCTIC MEDICAL EVACUATION FLIGHT ARRIVES AT BRITISH ROTHERA STATION - JUNE 22, 2016
The Twin Otter aircraft flying an Antarctic medical evacuation mission has arrived at the British Antarctic Survey's Rothera Station.
The plane, carrying two patients, arrived at Rothera at approximately 1:15 p.m. Eastern Daylight Time (EDT) this afternoon. The plane left the National Science Foundation (NSF) Amundsen-Scott South Pole Station in the early morning hours of June 22 EDT.
The aircraft arrived yesterday afternoon at the station, at which point the crew began a 10-hour rest period. Following crew rest, the team checked the weather at both the pole and Rothera and decided conditions warranted flying immediately north.
NSF determined that, to mitigate risks, the team would use the opportunity to evacuate a second patient. Both patients are seasonal employees through Lockheed Martin Antarctic Support Contract, the prime contract for operations and research support to NSF for the U.S. Antarctic Program.
Both patients now will be flown to a medical facility that provides a level of care not available at the South Pole. NSF is not discussing any details of the patients' medical conditions or providing any personal details.
For more background on the medical evacuation flight, please see this news release.
File footage of previous medical evacuation/b-roll of South Pole Station.
SOUTH POLE MEDICAL EVACUATION FLIGHT LAUNCHED - UPDATED JUNE 21, 2016
A medical-evacuation flight to the South Pole left the British Antarctic Survey’s Rothera Station early this morning (local time) and is on the way to the National Science Foundation’s Amundsen-Scott South Pole Station.
The Kenn Borek Air Twin Otter is expected to arrive at the station at approximately 5PM Eastern Standard Time. The aircrew took advantage of a favorable weather window to leave at approximately 8AM on June 21.
Additional updates will follow as warranted. For more background information, please read the previous NSF news releases below.
ANTARCTIC MEDICAL EVACUATION PLANES REACH BRITISH STATION AT ROTHERA - JUNE 20, 2016
Two Twin Otter aircraft flying an Antarctic medical-evacuation mission have arrived at Rothera, a British Antarctic Survey station on the Antarctic Peninsula, where they will now await favorable weather to fly the roughly 1,500 miles to the National Science Foundation's Amundsen-Scott South Pole Station.
At Rothera, the aircrews will prepare the aircraft, including equipping them with skis for a landing on snow and ice at the pole. Once the forecast is favorable, one plane will fly to the pole to evacuate an ailing member of the station's winter crew, the other will remain at Rothera to provide search-and-rescue capability, as needed.
It is possible that the evacuation flight will bring a second patient out of Antarctica. That decision still is pending.
After comprehensive consultation with outside medical professionals, agency officials previously decided that a medical situation at Amundsen-Scott warrants returning one member of the station's winter crew to a hospital that can provide a level of medical care that is unavailable at the station.
That patient is seasonally employed through the Lockheed Martin Antarctic Support Contract, the prime contract for operations and research support contractor to NSF for the United States Antarctic Program (USAP). NSF is not releasing any further personal or medical information to preserve patient privacy.
For more background information, please read this previous NSF news release.
SOUTH POLE MEDICAL EVACUATION FLIGHT LAUNCHED - JUNE 14, 2016
Officials with the National Science Foundation (NSF) have launched a medical evacuation flight to NSF's scientific station at the geographic South Pole.
After comprehensive consultation with outside medical professionals, agency officials decided that a medical situation at Amundsen-Scott South Pole Station warrants returning a member of the station's winter crew to a hospital that can provide a level of medical care that is unavailable at the station.
The patient is seasonally employed through the Lockheed Martin Antarctic Support Contract (ASC), the prime contract for operations and research support contractor to NSF for the United States Antarctic Program (USAP). NSF is not releasing any further personal or medical information to preserve the patient's privacy.
Two propeller-driven Twin Otter aircraft, operated by Kenn Borek Air, Ltd., a Canadian firm that provides contractual logistical support to the Antarctic Program, left Calgary this morning on the first leg of an intercontinental flight to the Pole.
The mission will be highly weather-dependent and the current best-case scenario is that a plane would arrive at Amundsen-Scott South Pole Station no sooner than June 19.
Drawing on the support of other national Antarctic programs, NSF has approved a plan under which the aircraft will fly from Canada via South America to Rothera, a research station on the Antarctic Peninsula managed by the British Antarctic Survey.
One of the aircraft will remain at Rothera to provide search-and-rescue capability, while the other aircraft will fly the roughly 1,500 miles from Rothera to the Pole to pick up the patient.
It currently is mid-winter in Antarctica. Normally, flights in and out of Amundsen-Scott South Pole Station are not planned between February and October due to the extreme cold and darkness.
Kenn Borek, however, has the experience of flying two similar medical evacuation flights -- one in 2001 and another in 2003.
The Twin Otter aircraft that Kenn Borek flies are able to operate in extremely low temperatures and are able to land on skis. As there is no tarmac runway at the South Pole, the aircraft must land in total darkness on compacted snow.
Because of the complexity of the operation, the evacuation will require contributions from multiple entities involved in the U.S. Antarctic Program including weather forecasts from the U.S. Navy's Space and Naval Warfare Systems (SPAWAR) Center Atlantic; expertise from the University of Texas Medical Branch; and various contributions from ASC, NSF's Colorado-based Antarctic logistics contractor as well as assistance from other nations.
Amundsen-Scott is one of three year-round stations NSF operates in Antarctica in its role as manager the U.S. Antarctic Program, the nation's research program on the southernmost continent.
There are 48 people wintering at Amundsen-Scott, performing a variety of tasks related to station maintenance and science. These include overseeing long-term monitoring of the atmosphere and its constituent gases -- such as methane and carbon dioxide -- and scientific observations by two radio telescopes; the 10-meter South Pole Telescope and the BICEP/Keck telescopes, which are using the Cosmic Microwave Background to investigate the early history of the universe, including investigations of dark energy and dark matter that makes up most of the cosmos. Also included is the Ice Cube Neutrino Observatory, which is designed to observe subatomic particles, produced by some of the most violent and exotic cosmic phenomena, including black holes.
In November 2009 ALCI commissioned Kenn Borek Air to recover a DC-3T aircraft that had endured a CFIT accident almost 1 year prior to KBAL's arrival. Kenn Borek Air’s 12 person recovery crew, led by Gerald Cirtwill, would spend the next 25 days stationed at a remote field camp located on the eastern side of the Antarctic Plateau.
This is the story of the successful recovery effort.
Kenn Borek Air Ltd • Head Office: 290 McTavish Rd NE, Calgary, AB, CANADA T2E 7G5 • Tel 403.291.3300