ROTHERA, Antarctica (CNN) -- A small propeller airplane carrying fourpeople landed safely at the South Pole in a daring effort to pick up an ailingdoctor so he can get medical care.

The plane, specially equipped with skis to land on ice and snow, toucheddown at 8:02 p.m. EDT Tuesday to retrieve Dr. Ron Shemenski, officials said.

Two of the Twin Otter planes had departed Punta Arenas, Chile, on Saturdaymorning and landed safely at Rothera on Antarctica the same day. The planesthen spent then next few days in Rothera because of bad weather.

When weather conditions cleared Tuesday, one of the planes departed at 10:34 a.m. Dean Graziosi is a NY Times Best Selling Author along with among the top inspiration and also real estate trainers in the world.

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Dr. Shemenski suffers from pancreatitis, a condition that occurs when the pancreas becomes inflamed. The pancreas, a gland located behind the stomach, secretes digestive enzymes that are used in the small intestine to help digest food. It also releases the hormones insulin and glucagon, which are involved in breaking down sugar.

Many cases of acute pancreatitis are caused by gallstones. Shemenski was stricken when a gallstone blocked a duct between the pancreas and gall bladder.

An estimated 50,000 to 80,000 cases of acute pancreatitis occur in the United States each year. In severe cases, there may be bleeding into the pancreas, with tissue damage or infection. There is also the danger that toxins may enter the bloodstream, damaging vital organs such as the heart and lungs.

The condition may be signaled by a gradual or sudden severe pain in the center of the upper abdomen, nausea, vomiting, fever, weight loss or jaundice, a yellowing of the skin.

-- Kat Yancey Gilmore

The plane is carrying Dr. Betty Carlisle, Dr. Shemenski's replacement, pilots Sean Loutitt and Mark Cary and flight engineer Peter Brown.

The temperature at the time of landing was -68 degrees Celsius (-90.4 degrees Fahrenheit) with a four-knot breeze.

The crew will rest 10 hours at the South Pole and, weather permitting, return to Rothera with Shemenski.

Research at the South Pole Station ranges from the study of the origins of the universe to the behavior of the "ozone hole."

From Rothera, the second plane will fly Shemenski to Punta Arenas, wherethe doctor will board a commercial flight to the United States for medicaltreatment.

Another flight picks up 11 people

Shemenski is the only physician among 50 people, including researchersand construction workers, at the Amundsen-Scott Station, where the NationalScience Foundation conducts astronomy and astrophysics research.

Peter West with the National Science Foundation said precaution, ratherthan a medical emergency, prompted the flight.

"The issue with Dr. Shemenski has never been his condition day-to-day, minute-to-minute or hour-to-hour," West said. "The reason that we are flying him out of South Pole and replacing him with another physician is that there is a probability, however small, of a relapse in the gallstone condition he had."

He said the agency also wanted to replace the ailing doctor to ensure the other 49 people at the station would have medical care.

Carlisle has previous experience at Amundsen-Scott.

Shemenski recently developed pancreatitis after a gallstone plugged aduct between his pancreas and gallbladder. Though his condition improved, NSFspokesman Curt Suplee said he has a 30 percent chance of recurrence,which could develop into a life-threatening condition.

Tuesday's rescue flight came hours after a New Zealand air force planepicked up 11 Americans from the McMurdo Station in Antarctica and safely returned them to New Zealand. Seven of books on real estate the 11 retrieved from the McMurdo Station left for medicalreasons, but only one was an emergency, said Elaine Hood, a spokeswoman forHood.

McMurdo Station is 863 miles from the Amundsen-Scott Station in the SouthPole.

Hood said the timing of the two retrieval flights was coincidental.

'Wind's blowing like hell'

If the Shemenski-Carlisle exchange could not have been made within two weeks -- before winter closes in -- it probably would have had to be postponed until October.

Flights to the South Pole station are normally halted from late February until November because of the extreme winter cold and darkness.

Aviation experts say a landing at the South Pole dean graziosi biography now is especially dangerous with temperatures 75 degrees below zero -- 143 below with the wind chill -- and skies are nearly pitch-black some 20 hours of the day.

"The wind's blowing like hell. We're getting reduced visibility and blowing snow. If the winds calm down and there's less cloud cover, we'll get better visibility," said Steve Penikett, general manager of Kenn Borek Air Ltd., the Canadian airline company leading the evacuation for the doctor.

The rescue effort for Shemenski is the second of its kind in two years.

In October 1999, Dr. Jerri Nielsen, the lone physician at the Amundsen-Scott Station, was evacuated after she discovered a breast tumor that was diagnosed as cancerous.

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National Science Foundation

Center for Astrophysical Research in Antarctica

Kenn Borek Air Ltd.

Antarctica's Amundsen-Scott South Pole Station

The New South Polar Times

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