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Buzz Aldrin evacuated from Antarctica to New Zealand Updated

Friday 2 Dec 2016 6:01 a.m.

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Former US astronaut Buzz Aldrin is in a hospital in Christchurch in a stable condition after being evacuated from the South Pole.

He was airlifted from the US research base McMurdo Station on Ross Island and arrived at the Christchurch International Airport early on Friday morning, where he's receiving medical treatment.

The 86-year-old, who was the second person to set foot on the moon, was visiting the southern continent as part of a tourist group when his condition deteriorated.

Antarctica New Zealand says rescues from the ice aren't uncommon.

"If we can get them out easily we absolutely would," chief executive Peter Beggs says.

"We don't want people down there who are uncomfortable or unwell."

"He currently has fluid in his lungs but is responding well to antibiotics and being kept overnight for observation," said a statement from the company, White Desert, which was running the tour.

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Mr Aldrin's manager, Christinia Kord, says the ordeal was a "gruelling 24 hours".

The evacuation was made a little easier than usual thanks to good weather.

"In summer it's a lot easier - the weather's a lot kinder, we have 24-hour sunlight, and we have multiple planes going to and from Antarctica," Mr Beggs says.

It's already become a new experience Mr Aldrin can add to his already-impressive list of adventures.

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