Fire at Brazilian Research Base in Antarctica Kills Two

February 26, 2012 Updated: September 20, 2012

Two people were killed after a Brazilian research station in Antarctica exploded into flames.

“All the central core of the base, where the installations were concentrated, was lost. The exact extent of what occurred still needs to be determined, but the assessment is that we really lost virtually everything,” Defense Minister Celso Amorim told AFP on Saturday evening.

The two killed in the blaze were soldiers attempting to extinguish it, state-run Agencia Brasil reported. “In an act of heroism, they risked their lives to extinguish the fire, but failed,” Amorim told the news agency.

Researchers living at the base on King George Island on the Antarctic Peninsula, were scheduled to be flown home on Sunday. 

According to a press statement issued by the Brazilian Navy after a site inspection on Sunday, 70 percent of the facility was destroyed including living quarters and some research laboratories. 

“We lost much more than equipment, we lost lives. I lost all my research and that was one of the cheapest. Some of the research lost cost millions of dollars,” survivor Joao Paulo Machado Torres told AFP.

The base was built in 1984 for biological research on the same site as a former British station established in 1947.