Buzz Aldrin has been evacuated from the South Pole after falling ill while on a tourist trip. The legendary Nasa astronaut was visiting Antarctica with White Desert, which runs luxury adventures to the continent.

A statement released by the company said: "A White Desert client, Buzz Aldrin, has been evacuated from South Pole. Mr Aldrin was visiting the Pole as part of a tourist group and while there his condition deteriorated.

"As a precaution, following discussion between the White Desert doctor and the US Antarctic Programme (USAP) doctor, Mr Aldrin, accompanied by a member of his team, was evacuated on the first available flight out of the South Pole to McMurdo with the USAP under the care of a USAP doctor. His condition was described as stable upon White Desert doctor's hand-over to the USAP medial team.

"White Desert would like to express their gratitude to USAP at this time for their support.
His family have been informed of the situation. This flight is still in progress and there will be further updates when additional information is available."

Aldrin, 86, had arrived in Antarctica on 29 November. He tweeted a picture of his arrival, saying: "South Pole here I come!"

The National Science Foundation, which provided the flight for the evacuation, described Aldrin's condition as "ailing", adding that further medical updates would be given if appropriate.

"The National Science Foundation has agreed to provide a humanitarian medical evacuation flight for an ailing visitor from its Amundsen-Scott South Pole Station to McMurdo Station on the Antarctic coast and then to New Zealand," a statement said.

"The patient is Buzz Aldrin, who, in 1969, became one of the first men to walk on the Moon, as part of the two-man lunar landing crew of Apollo 11.

"The request to NSF, which manages the U.S. Antarctic Program, came on 1 December (local time, US stations in Antarctica keep New Zealand time) from White Desert, a private tourism firm. Ski-equipped LC-130 cargo planes flown by the 109th Airlift Wing of the New York Air National Guard provide the air bridge between the South Pole and McMurdo. The flight to New Zealand will be scheduled as soon as possible.

"NSF will make additional statements about the patient's medical condition only as conditions warrant."