An international mission is under way to rescue a sick US citizen working at a research centre in the Antarctic.
An Australian Airbus A319 landed at an icy runway of the US McMurdo station, after a five-hour flight from Christchurch in New Zealand.
The US requested help from Australia, saying the patient – who has not been identified – may require treatment beyond that available at the base.
New Zealand’s air force is monitoring the rescue operation.
“The patient is currently stable but may require immediate corrective surgery,” a statement by the US National Science Foundation (NSF) said.
It added that the base was “not equipped for the type of procedure being contemplated”.
The base’s runway is one of the few in the Antarctic that remains operational for much of the year, despite the polar darkness and hostile conditions.