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Fire at Antarctica station kills 2 Brazilian sailors

By Marilia Brocchetto, CNN
updated 10:23 PM EST, Sat February 25, 2012
The Brazilian navy estimated there were 32 civilians and 12 sailors at the research station when the fire broke out.
The Brazilian navy estimated there were 32 civilians and 12 sailors at the research station when the fire broke out.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Fire breaks out at Brazilian research site in Antarctica
  • Two sailors are killed, one injured
  • Nation remains committed to climate, other research

(CNN) -- Two Brazilian sailors died and one was injured Saturday after a fire broke out at a naval research station in Antarctica, authorities reported

The fire occurred at the Comandante Ferraz station on King George Island, said Adm. Julio Soares de Moura Neto, commander of the Brazilian navy.

The sailors were trying to extinguish a fire that broke out in the engine room of the facility.

Brazilian military police are investigating the cause.

The station is home to researchers who conduct studies on the effects of climate change in Antarctica and its implications on the planet, according to the Ministry of Science and Technology and Innovation. Researchers at the base also study marine life and the atmosphere.

The Brazilian navy estimated there were 32 civilians and 12 sailors at the station when the fire broke out.

Remaining personnel on the base were transferred to Chilean base Eduardo Frei in southern Chile and were expected to return to Brazil some time on Monday, according to the Brazilian Foreign Ministry.

According to state-run news agency Agencia Brasil, Defense Minister Celso Amorim said that the Antarctica program will continue, despite much of the station being destroyed by fire and with it, many materials and equipment used for research. He said the nation has a 30-year commitment to the project.

"The entire core base, which is where these facilities are concentrated, was lost," said Amorim. "The program is a source of pride for us, so let us continue. "

Amorim thanked Chile, Argentina and Poland for the transport and accommodation of Brazilian personnel after the fire, Agencia Brasil reported.

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