Q: What was the effect of the illness on Little America? Were people
concerned or angry and was there a lot of debate about rescuing him.|
SC: Well, when this condition was apparent, we first acknowledged that well
we all said, he shouldn't have gone out there in the first place and that he
was a lousy operator to start with and he was having problems. It was some
time before it developed that he was having health problems. We didn't realize
initially that it was just his inadequacy as a radio operator. That was our
only contact with him. And, then they tried to work with him over the period
of time but he didn't improve and they discussed with him, over the air, coming
out and he advised against it because of conditions. Then, ultimately, oh I
can't say this officially and ultimately he asked for help.
Q: Was there a lot of debate about whether people should risk their lives to
go rescue him?
SC: There was a, discussion as to who should go and when, if at all, because
they didn't know what they were going to get into. We don't know. We were
assuming that he was in trouble, on the basis of his radio transmissions,
irregularity and so forth, making allowances for his expertise, as a radio
Q: But, didn't rescuing him require other men to risk their lives. Why was
it so risky to go out and rescue him?
SC: The danger of going out at that time of year, storms, darkness,
unfamiliarity with the trail, you're using tractors and the ability of, your
dependence on those tractors to keep running, in the cold, to get the men and
the equipment to where they're going. We not only would fail to take care of
him but we could fail in the, in jeopardizing other men's lives in trying to
get to help him. So, you had to very careful and be sure that you were
covering all the aspects of such a situation.
Q: Were there many people who said, we shouldn't go, we shouldn't risk our
lives and there were other people that said, we should go.
SC: The feeling in the camp was if the old man's in trouble, we should do
everything we could to help him. He hasn't asked for it, that's all the more
reason we want to go out and help him, to save him, not only from possible
death or the embarrassment of having asked for help. Then, the question comes
up, who's going to go. We tried to pick the ones to go, that would serve all
purposes and have the situation be successfully completed.
Q: Did the rescue team have a lot of trouble getting back, getting to him,
did they have to turn back several times?
SC: Well at first the effort to get out to advance base failed. Why I think
there were two or three times that the men got out a distance and something
would come up and they had to come back or the weather would stop them and they
came back. There were two or three times that they tried before they
successfully got through.
Q: And, what did they find when they got there? How did they make their way
there and what did they find when they got there?
SC: Well, when they got there, ultimately they found that they had a sick man
on their hands. So, it was determined that instead of picking him up and
coming right back to Little America, that they would stay there with him and
try to get him back into some form of readiness physically to travel. It
wasn't determined how they were going to travel. He came by airplane because
by this time, the weather is changed and we're getting daylight, out of
Q: What kind of shape was he in when they found him?
SC: When they got there, they found a sick man. So, they nursed him and
instead of trying to bring him over the trail, in a tractor or anything, it was
determined that under the conditions, of the weather and his physical
condition, it would be better that they would wait and get some light and use a
plane and make a quick trip, which they did.
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