Buzz Aldrin evacuated from South Pole after falling ill

Former American astronaut Buzz Aldrin was taken by plane from Antarctica to New Zealand on Thursday after falling ill while he was on a visit with a tour group.

The National Science Foundation (NSF) provided a “humanitarian medical evacuation” from Amundsen-Scott South Pole Station to McMurdo Station, which then put Aldrin, 86, on the flight to New Zealand. 

In a release, the NSF said Aldrin was a member of a private tour group run by White Desert. 

The group said Aldrin’s condition had “deteriorated.” White Desert said he was put on the first available flight out of the region “as a precaution.” Later in the day, they issued an update saying that his condition was stable, but that he had experienced fluid in his lungs. He was responding well to antibiotics and would be kept overnight for further observation.

He had been sending Twitter messages ahead of his trip. On Sunday, he jokingly tweeted: “I could be a little underdressed for Antarctica. Although I tend to be hot blooded.”

Aldrin was part of the Apollo 11 mission, the first space trip sending humans to the moon. He was accompanied by fellow astronaut Neil Armstrong, who took the first steps on the moon on July 21, 1969, and minutes later, Aldrin became the second.

Most recently, Aldrin has been an outspoken advocate of humans colonizing Mars. 

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