Day 17: Airplane problems force the South Pole trek team to remain in tent city

Despite having made it to the South Pole, the Test Your Limits team may be only now facing their greatest challenge.

Well, OMG… Here we are again, stuck, as the Ilyushin isn’t flying. Apparently they switched an engine out and still there were problems.

Given how long we’ve been away, I had Dale count his pills. I then spoke to the ALE team to let them know how many days of anti-rejection drugs we have left and what was the Plan B if Ilyushin wasn’t going to fly…. in time…

They are now flying in a Russian engineer from the United Arab Emirates to look at the plane. Apparently they’ve identified a valve problem that was leaking fuel from that engine. Hopefully the engineer is bringing in the right parts.

Unfortunately though, despite the urgency all around, apparently he may not be in Punta Arenas until Saturday the 19th. Then he needs to make sure that is the problem and fix it and hopefully, if that works, the plane will fly and we might be able to leave on the 20th.

However it’s clear that if that isn’t the problem and more parts are needed from Russia…. we may be here in tent city for a while.

So, imagine how well that is going down. We’re still in tent city. No clean clothing in sight. But the real concern is Dale’s meds.

I’m going to have some of his anti-rejection drugs sent down from Santiago to Punta and then we will start to work on Plan B.

The Chilean Air Force often flies in Hercules planes, but they will not allow commercial passengers. Nonetheless, if we can get the medication down to Punta and if they have a flight, we can bring in extra medications.

Overall, I’ve worked out a Plan B because I think it’s critical that we have it. Certainly we have worked out at least a Plan B for the medication.

I hope Mike and Phyllis are enjoying coverage because the way things are going, Diego and I may end up wintering down here…..

Dr. Heather Ross is travelling to the South Pole to raise awareness for heart disease.

Follow her Journey to the Bottom of the Earth exclusively on Yahoo! Canada.

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About Dr. Ross

One of Toronto’s top cardiologists is heading to the South Pole, and Yahoo Canada News is following every step of the voyage.


Dr. Heather Ross, Director of the Heart Failure Program at the Peter Munk Cardiac Centre and the Medical Director of the Cardiac Transplant Program, is venturing to the pole to raise awareness for heart failure research, cardiac transplantation and heart health.


Follow along starting Jan. 1 as Dr. Ross blogs her journey to the bottom of the Earth.


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Got a question for Dr. Heather Ross while she's on her South Pole journey? Send her a question by clicking above or emailing AskDrRoss@yahoo.ca and she'll reply in a future blog post!