Russian polar station will be evacuated

North Pole-32 (SP-32) drifting station may start being evacuated on March 5, Vladimir Sokolov, the supervisor of the SP-32 scientific expedition, said.

He said that the weather conditions may cause the evacuation plans to be changed, however the current weather forecast is quite favorable.

A Mi-26 heavy transport helicopter and two Antonov An-74 airplanes are expected to be used to evacuate the expedition team.

The helicopter and the planes will fly to Norway's Spitzbergen archipelago in the Barents Sea or a populated locality on Franz-Josef Land on March 5. Then they will leave for SP-32 on March 6.

The plan calls for the evacuation of the expedition team on March 6 because a night evacuation is impossible, Mr. Sokolov said.

Mr. Sokolov noted that all of the members of the expedition are in good health and that nothing was threatening their lives.

The station was crushed by ice in the evening of March 3, and ice blocks subsequently engulfed part of its living quarters and auxiliary premises.

Previously, the station was to have completed its work on March 20.

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