After Stroke, South Pole Worker Is Denied Evacuation

US officials say it's too risky to fly out Renee-Nicole Douceur
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 8, 2011 10:01 AM CDT
The Amundsen-Scott South Pole Station in a file photo.   (Getty Images)
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(Newser) – A compelling story out of the US South Pole station: Manager Renee-Nicole Douceur says she has suffered a stroke and needs to be evacuated for proper treatment, but the National Science Foundation says it won't be safe enough to send in a plane for at least a few more weeks. The 58-year-old Douceur and her family are now making a public push to pressure the NSF and the company that manages the base, Raytheon Polar Services, to move. The push includes a website and a Facebook page, and Douceur has given interviews to Discovery and the New York Times among other media outlets.

A few quotes tell the tale:

  • Douceur: "I'm just hanging in there and I'm looking out my window and it's nice and clear bright and sunny. I'm saying to myself why isn't there a plane here to get me out of here today or even yesterday?"
  • Raytheon spokesman: “During the winter period, extremely cold temperatures and high winds make an extraction dangerous for all involved, passengers as well as crew, and such an extraction is considered only in life-threatening conditions.”
  • Douceur's niece: “My question back to them is, By what standard is a stroke considered a nonemergency?”
(Read more South Pole stories.)

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