Tragic Antarctic Accident
Date January 27, 2010
Relevant Logs Midnight, Part I, Midnight, Part II, Midnight, Part III, Midnight, Part IV, This Twilight

ASSOCIATED PRESS — An unexpected tragedy struck a very unlikely place in the world recently. On January 16th, during preparation for the second phase of Antarctic deep core drilling, the global Antarctic research teams at the Amundsen-Scott Antarctic Research Facility at the south pole accidentally drilled into a pocket of methane gas trapped within layers of the arctic ice. It is unknown at this time what caused the ignition of the gas, but the resulting explosion created a rapidly-expanding sinkhole to appear in the south pole ice shelf, causing the destruction of the Amundsen-Scott Facility and a loss of an untold number of its researchers.

Word first arrived of the accident on the 17th, when regularly scheduled communications at the station were not transmitted, and a distress beacon signal was detected over the south pole station. A joint United States and Chinese rescue team was dispatched from McMurdo station on Ross Island to help with the recovery of the wounded and injured. Exact statistics on the death toll at Amundsen-Scott is not known at this time, but the facility had been housing 43 summer-season staff and 15 researchers from the People's Republic of China.

Stunning satellite photographs of the sinkhole and the remains of Amundsen-Scott tell the tragic tale, and a more in-depth coverage of the collapse will be followed in the months to come.

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