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2 Workers Die in Unexplained Accident at US Antarctic Station

Newser — Rob Quinn

Tragedy in Antarctica: Two technicians are dead after an unexplained accident at an American research station, the National Science Foundation says. The NSF says the two men had been working on a fire-suppression system for a McMurdo Station building that houses a generator for a radio transmitter, Reuters reports.

They were found unconscious by a helicopter pilot who landed to investigate after spotting smoke coming from the building. Both men were taken from the building and given CPR.

One was pronounced dead at the scene and the other was pronounced dead after being flown to a medical clinic, authorities say.

The NSF says it is not immediately releasing personal information about the two men, who worked for PAE, a Virginia-based subcontractor, the Guardian reports.

The agency says the two men were fire technicians who had been doing preventative maintenance on the building. The NSF says the deaths, which are not being treated as suspicious, will be investigated by a panel it will convene.

The research station on Ross Island is the largest outpost in Antarctica, with more than 1,000 workers at this time of year, which is summer in the Southern Hemisphere.

(In 2010, New Zealand's Air Force rescued a sick American from the station in winter.)

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This article originally appeared on Newser: 2 Workers Die in Unexplained Accident at US Antarctic Station