SAO PAULO — Evacuees from Brazil’s destroyed Antarctic research base were set to fly home Sunday as the government assessed the extensive damage caused by a fire that also killed two navy personnel and injured another.
A Brazilian Air Force C-130 Hercules aircraft was to pick up the 32 civilians and 12 navy personnel in Chile and fly them back to Brazil, officials said.
The blaze swept through a room housing energy generators of Brazil’s Comandante Ferraz research base located in Admiralty Bay, King George Island, near the tip of the Antarctic Peninsula.
“All the central core of the base, where the installations were concentrated, was lost. The exact extent of what occurred still needs to be determined, but the assessment is that we really lost virtually everything,” Defense Minister Celso Amorim said late Saturday.
“It’s an irreparable loss,” the daily O Estado de Sao Paulo quoted Yocie Valentin, a Brazilian expert in charge of scientific work in Antarctica, as saying Sunday.
The base, which was established in 1984, conducts biological science research focused on coastal and shelf marine ecosystems. — AFP