Dr. Jerri Nielsen passed away today from cancer. She was at the South Pole the winter prior to my first summer in 1999 at MCM. You may remember her as the doctor who diagnosed herself with cancer and did a biopsy on herself at the pole that winter.
I remember the “rescue”. C-130s flying into the pole while the temperature were still hovering around the point where the hydraulic fluids on the airplane controls could freeze. She never came into MCM. The planes picked her up, refueled and left without going into town.
Minor correction, Mike – I happened to be at the ice runway when her 130 flew in from the Pole. The plane landed, and she was immediately escorted over to a waiting C-141, for medevac transport up to CHC.
Please let’s not overstate the “rescue” mission. The LC-130 to Pole took place two days before the regular planned opening of the station. If was not a big deal. The real outstanding flying was when the Twin Otter flew into Pole in the winter for another sick doctor…..seems like there was a real run of sick doctors.
Getting Jerri through New Zealand, back to the States and into a hospital without the media finding her is another interesting part of the story.