SOUTH POLE, Antarctica — Buzz Aldrin had to be flown out of Antarctica after becoming sick.

The 86-year-old, who grew up in Montclair before he became an Apollo 11 astronaut who walked on the moon, was visiting the Amundsen-Scott South Pole Station with a group of visitors and his "condition deteriorated," according to a statement from the company that organized the trip. As as a precaution, following discussion between White Desert's doctor and the station's doctor, Aldrin was sent home on a flight from the U.S. Antarctic Program.

"His condition was described as stable upon White Desert doctor's hand-over to the USAP medical team," the statement says. A specific ailment was not disclosed by the company, which describes itself as a luxury tourism operator that specializes in taking clients to the Antarctic.

"We are prioritizing his safe and efficient evacuation form Antarctica in close co-operation with NSF (The National Science Foundation) and IAATO," Director Robyn Woodhead told Townsquare Media in an email.

The National Science Foundation, which was hosting Aldrin's group at the station, said Aldrin would fly to McMurdo Station on the Antarctic coast and then to New Zealand. He flew onboard a ski-equipped LC-130 cargo plane flown by the 109th Airlift Wing of the New York Air National Guard.

Aldrin was healthy and smiling in the days to the trip.

Posing with a turkey, Aldrin tweeted "I had a low key turkey day yesterday but reflected on all the things I'm thankful for - Family, friends, Team Buzz and looking to the future."  He also tweeted pictures of members of the travel party.

The Mount Hebron Middle School in Montclair was renamed after Aldrin in September during a ceremony that included the second man to walk on the moon. He was presented with an American flag that flew at Omaha Beach in Normandy, France, for the 70th anniversary event marking the D-Day invasion of Normandy that was made by Annin Flagmakers of Roseland. Annin also made the flag that Aldrin and Buzz Armstrong planted on the moon in 1969.

 

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