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US scientist rescued from Antarctica

Published: 7:01PM Monday October 17, 2011 Source: ONE News

American scientist Renee-Nicole Douceur has been rescued after suffering a suspected stroke on August 27 at the South Pole.

Douceur, 58, boarded a US airforce C-17 Globemaster at 4.20pm yesterday and it landed at Christchurch Airport late last night.

The scientist, who is from the small coastal town of Seabrook in New Hampshire, was working as a research manager for Raytheon Polar Services when she fell ill.

She was then stranded at the South Pole needing medical attention for more than six weeks.

Her symptoms include faulty vision, as well as speech and memory problems.

A small break in the weather meant a plane was finally able to reach her at the pole and take her to McMurdo station yesterday morning where she was then picked up by the US airforce.

A planned rescue flight from Chile, which was due to drop into a British research station in Antarctica enroute to the South Pole, was not able to land because of bad weather, the Christchurch newspaper The Press said.

Douceur had earlier asked for an emergency evacuation but was turned down due to concerns over the safety of making such a flight.

Arriving at Christchurch Airport last night, Douceur  told ONE News she had been worried about whether the unpressurised plane from the South Pole could do some more serious damage to her or cause a stroke.

"They kept the plane at very low altitude. So the air crew knew what to do if there's something that had happened to me," she said.

She was then taken to Christchurch Hospital for treatment.