Italian plane comes to the rescue of Jacinda Ardern after her plane broke down in Antarctica

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An Italian crew came to the rescue after New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern was stranded in Antarctica after her plane broke down. She was at Scott Base, a remote base on Ross Island, to celebrate the site’s 65th anniversary. Ardern was due to return to Christchurch around 6am on Saturday but Airforce Hercules was unable to make the return flight.

An Italian plane was dispatched to bring her and her entourage back by Saturday night. Previously, her visit to the icy continent had been delayed due to bad weather. The plane had to turn back because of strong winds.

Also read | New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern visits Antarctica to raise awareness of climate change

Ardern has also witnessed the effects of climate change and said she saw melting glaciers. Ardern said scientists could see clear signs of a climate crisis as huge cracks appeared in the melting Arctic Ocean and glaciers visibly changed.

She also took a trip to Irish-born explorer Sir Ernest Shackleton’s hut, which was built more than a century ago.

“I think when you’re a kid and you read stories about Shackleton, you never thought you’d have the opportunity to come. So I’m feeling pretty lucky. It’s a cool place,” she said.

Scott Base will soon be demolished and a modern replacement built in its place.

“It’s one thing to read it on paper, and many of us will have heard about the research that’s been done here – but to be able to see it in person and speak to those involved, was something else.” She said.

“You see why what they’re researching is so important, not just to New Zealand but to the whole world, and it brings them back year after year.”

Ardern said it was important that the government pay attention to the research being done there, “because all that work is for naught if we don’t listen to what science tells us”.

(With contributions from agencies)

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