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Two fire technicians have died after a generator incident occurred at one of the largest stations in Antarctica.
According to the National Science Foundation (NSF), on 12 December, the two technicians were performing routine maintenance on a generator building’s fire suppression system. The generator powers a radio transmitter nearby the station.
Unfortunately, the maintenance did not go according to plan, and the technicians were found unconscious by a helicopter pilot, who was waiting for the work to be finished.
When the technicians did not return at the agreed upon time, the pilot went to check on them (initial reports said there was smoke coming from the building).
Both men were given CPR. One died at the scene, and another was flown to a clinic at the facility and pronounced dead shortly after arriving.
The McMurdo Station is the largest community and science station in Antarctica, and can support up to 1,258 residents in peak season.
It’s located on the south tip of Ross Island, a part of Antarctica claimed by New Zealand.
Despite what you might imagine an Antarctic base to look like, this place is a bustling hub, with three airfields, a harbor, a heliport and over 100 buildings.
The types of science conducted at or near the station range from astrophysics to biology, geology and climate sciences.
Although a number of scientists are based at the facility, the majority of crew are support staff, such as engineers, IT personnel, construction and maintenance workers – all the people whose work is crucial in enabling the scientific endeavours we do on Earth’s coldest continent.
The Guardian has reported that a spokesman for NSF said the deaths were not being treated as suspicious. Next of kin have been notified, but there are no more publicly released details at this stage.