The only drift-ice research unit in the world “North Pole-32” is collapsing.
The station director Vladimir Koshilev wired to Arctic Administration of Frontier Troops that the iceberg on which the station was located, had been split.
The iceberg started splitting into pieces at 5 pm of Msk on March 3. The polar explorers’ cottages sank. All 12 researches are alive, they have called frontier guards for urgent assistance.
The Arctic Frontier Guards Administration command has sent AN-26 aircraft to the accident scene. Director of Press Department of Arctic Frontier Guards Administration Vladimir Berezkin said that AN-26 would deliver fuel and warm clothing to the polar explorers. MI-26 helicopter flight has also been scheduled to evacuate the explorers from the iceberg.
"Nobody from "North Pole-32" personnel has been injured", said Vladimir Berezkin.
He also said that the polar station mission was coming to the end: the station drifted 2,750 kilometers in 9 months.
All the explorers are in good health, and they wire weather reports to the global meteorological network every six hours, the temperature in the station area is -35°C.
Assistant Director of Russian Meteorological Service Natalia Ershova said in an Interfax interview that the polar explorers would be evacuated within two days. According to her, the accident was caused by getting the iceberg in the active destruction zone, and this resulted in splitting the iceberg.
Ms. Ershova said that the explorers still have two cottages, emergency diesel power station and fuel supplies for five days. All the station workers are in good health, and there is regular connection with them via radio.
Earlier, on January 18, a piece of ice having 1.5 kilometers in size, was split from the iceberg. There was a plane runway on this piece. This happened because the temperature in the station area became warmer.
Russian drift-ice research units stopped operating in July 1991, when the iceberg where the 31st polar expedition was located, split into pieces after getting in warm water.
”North Pole-32” research unit was launched in spring 2003 by initiative of St Petersburg Research Institute. Today the station is located 150 kilometers away the North Pole, the station’s iceberg is 4-5 meters thick.
First Soviet research station “North Pole-1” was organized in 1937, its director was legendary Ivan Papanin. The first station also had an accident and all the country followed the news on rescuing the station's explorers.