Former American astronaut Buzz Aldrin, one of the first men to walk on the moon, is recovering in New Zealand after he was evacuated by plane from the South Pole for medical reasons, officials said.
An association of Antarctica tour operators said Thursday that Aldrin, 86, was visiting the South Pole as part of a private tour group when his health deteriorated. It said he was taken on the first available flight to McMurdo Station, a U.S. research center on the Antarctic coast. They described his condition as stable.
The National Science Foundation, which manages the U.S. Antarctic program, described Aldrin as "ailing" and said he was being flown on a ski-equipped LC-130 cargo plane to McMurdo. From there, he would be flown to New Zealand, it said on its website.
CNN reported Aldrin landed in New Zealand at 4:25 a.m.
Official statement about Buzz and his evacuation from the South Pole. He's recovering well in NZ. Full statement https://t.co/OacRI4577Z pic.twitter.com/QdrEaHuQHq — Buzz Aldrin (@TheRealBuzz) December 1, 2016
"Upon arrival in Christchurch, the Antarctic program's logistics hub in New Zealand, Aldrin was transferred to a local medical facility," according to the foundation.
Christina Korp, Aldrin's manager said he is in good spirits. Korp posted a photo on Twitter of the two at the hospital.
Aldrin became the second man to walk on the moon in 1969 as part of the U.S. Apollo 11 mission.
A Satellite Beach resident, Aldrin last year established the Buzz Aldrin Space Institute at the Florida Institute of Technology in Melbourne.
The institute is dedicated to studying the settlement of Mars, including a concept Aldrin developed called "Cycling Pathways to Occupy Mars."
Aldrin spoke about the importance of “tenacious innovation” during a Veterans Day appearance at the opening ceremony for the Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex's new Heroes and Legends attraction.
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