'Ailing' Buzz Aldrin Being Evacuated From South Pole

Emergency flight will retrieve 86-year-old astronaut, 2nd man on the moon
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 1, 2016 6:00 AM CST
'Ailing' Buzz Aldrin Being Evacuated From South Pole
Buzz Aldrin, the second man to walk on the moon, in St. Paul, Minn., in a July 2016 photo.   (Isaac Hale/Star Tribune via AP)

Some troubling news about an American adventurer: 86-year-old Buzz Aldrin—the second man to walk on the moon—needs to be evacuated from the South Pole because of a medical issue. It's not clear what's wrong, but the National Science Foundation announced Thursday that it was sending a plane to retrieve Aldrin. The only details it provided about his condition was to say that he's "ailing." So what's Aldrin doing at the South Pole? That's not clear either, but the Washington Post notes that the request to the NSF came from a private tourism company in South Africa called the Antarctic Company.

Aldrin had been in fine form before leaving for Antarctica on Tuesday, reports the South African website Times Live. He'd spent a few days in Cape Town before the journey to the South Pole, and had been tweeting images of his preparation all the while. "South Pole here I come!" he wrote on one. The Antarctic Company organizes adventure trips to the South Pole of up to 10 days, though Aldrin's role with the company wasn't spelled out. Aldrin made history in 1969 when he and Neil Armstrong planted a flag on the moon. (More Buzz Aldrin stories.)

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