Booze-Fueled Fight Forces South Pole Evacuation

Norwegian explorer Roald Amundsen reached the South Pole in December 1911.

Ninety-six years later, another achievement was reached — the South Pole's first bar fight.

Without releasing names, the National Science Foundation, which runs the Amundsen-Scott South Pole Station, confirmed that two men had to be evacuated from the base Christmas Day after what one person characterized as a "drunken Christmas punch-up."

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A C-130 Hercules military transport plane had to be dispatched from McMurdo Station, the main U.S. research base far to the north on the Antarctic coast, after one of the men suffered a broken jaw.

"There was an altercation between two people," National Science Foundation spokesman Peter West told the New Zealand Herald. "There's no indication of the cause or of the background between the two folks."

But Britain's The Guardian reported alcohol had been involved, and its competitor The Telegraph said the fisticuffs were over a woman.

Canada's National Post said the antagonists were both employees of Raytheon International, the defense contractor that does the construction and maintenance work at the Amundsen-Scott station.

The injured man was flown on to a Christchurch, New Zealand hospital, at a cost of about $85,000. He was discharged Dec. 26 and was said to be recovering locally.

The other man got an early return to the U.S. — without his job.

• Click here to read the report in the New Zealand Herald.