Royal Navy Ships Helps Antarctic Base Fire

Sailors from a Royal Navy ship have helped tackle a fire which broke out at an Antarctic research station, killing two people.

Twenty-three sailors from the Portsmouth-based ice patrol ship HMS Protector went with fire-fighting equipment to the Ferraz research station, on King George Island in the South Shetland Islands.

They arrived after the survivors - mainly Brazilian military and scientific personnel - had been evacuated and set about extinguishing the fire which was still alight, according to a navy spokesman.

He said: ''Protector's crew used the ship's small boats to land vehicles and equipment.

''The work boat Terra Nova landed a quad bike and trailer so portable pumping and fire-fighting equipment could be moved around the base.''

The spokesman added that the two people who died in the fire were from Brazil.

Captain Peter Sparkes, the commanding officer of HMS Protector, said:

''This was a tragic incident, which resulted in the death of two people and the injury of many more.

''Our thoughts and prayers are with the Brazilian navy's Antarctic service and their families.

''I am pleased that Protector afforded valuable and timely support during this incident.

''This is what the Royal Navy is trained to do, and do well.''

HMS Protector has been on patrol in Antarctica, visiting several research stations in the region.

Ferraz base is able to support up to 65 personnel conducting geological, bio-diversity and meteorological research.

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