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Nella Dan in Antarctic rescue operation



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No. 14 209

FOR PRESS

ITELLA DI.N IN AiTARCTIC RESCUE 0. R! — M ON

(Statement by the Minister for Supply, Senator Ken Anderson)

Australi an helicopters, operating from the polar vessel Nella D an,

are expected to complete the "rescue" of a F re nch Antarctic party today.

The Minister for Supply, Senator Len Anderson, said this in

Canberra today (March 18).

Senator Anderson said: "Last Friday, at the request of the

French, we diverted the Australian-chartered Nella Dan to assist her

sister ship Thala Dan to bring out 45 people due to return from the

French base at Dumont D'Urville, about 2,000 miles south of Melbourne.

"The two ships met at 8 a.m. yesterday in a pool in the ice pack

about 15 miles north of Dumont D'Urville.

"Two helicopters were de-iced after Sunday's storm. After

a reconnaissance by helicopter, Thala Dan Loved 15 miles further into the

ice, while Nella Dan remained in the pool.

"The two helicopters began flying into Dumont D'Urville at 2 p.m.

yesterday.

"'when night fell, at 6.30 p.m., they had moved—with the

assistance of the one French helicopter stationed at Dumont D'Urville--2,800 lb. of urgently-required scientific equipment from Thala Dan to the

French base and had taken back to Thala Dan 1,200 lb. of baggage and 11

passengers.

"The forecast is promising. If the weather holds, the exercise

should be completed by late today, when Thala Dan will return to Melbourne and Nella Dan will resume her voyage to Macquarie Island an d

Melbourne."

CAUB E s, March 18, 1969.