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September 21, 2005

Ice Station Zebra

The BBC reports today:

Four Argentine army commandos on skis have dropped from a helicopter onto an Antarctic glacier, in a bid to rescue a missing scientist and navy officer.

The two Argentine men were crossing the Collins Glacier, on King George Island, on a snowmobile on Saturday when they fell down a deep crevasse.

Reminds me of Ice Station Zebra, a 60’s flick whose plot involves a hodge podge military team’s race to the Pole to rescue trapped scientists (and, covertly, recover crucial satellite imagery) ahead of the Ruskies. Now, Zebra had it’s scientists trapped by deadly Artic weather in a ruined camp, but there were crevasse rescues.


Prior to today, Zebra, if it is remembered at all, is recalled as Howard Hughes’ favorite film. In the Billionaire’s latter years, when he’d moved into the Desert Inn’s penthouse, he’d watch it repeatedly at night, tired after putting in a long, hard day of ‘crazy.’

Did he screen a private print? No. Some sort of proto VHS/Beta thing? Nope. He’d just call up the local TV station he owned and order it to play Zebra, then kick back and watch on his set at home. Along with the rest of Vegas. Again. And Again. And... (I do much the same thing, calling local stations late at night, ordering them to play Krull. But for some reason, I just get hung up on.)

Anyway, back to the present.

An earlier report says the scientist and the navy guy were part of a pack, traveling back by snowmobiles, when the crevasse just opened up and swallowed them whole. Disappeared. Just like that.

They’re stuck down about 100.’ They've been down there since Sunday. The Antarctic Commandos, because of bad weather, couldn’t get there til yesterday. Now, the scientist and navy guy are wearing the right gear for the elements, but there hasn’t been any contact yet.

A 100’ fall. No contact. Blizzard conditions hampering rescue efforts. Doesn’t look good, but here’s hoping.

correction: runninrebel calls my ass out on Hughes' hotel. Desert Inn, not Flamingo. Damaging to my credibility? Yes. But not the fatal tardstomp Allah delivered Ace. Truly, "Truth to Power" was spoken then. (Oh, how we lowly co-bloggers laughed at our sweatshop whipmaster's misfortune that day.)

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posted by Dr. Reo Symes at 06:12 PM

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