Buzz Aldrin was visiting the South Pole as part of a private tourist group when his health deteriorated. File picture: Susan Walsh/AP

Berlin - Buzz Aldrin, the second person to walk on the moon, was evacuated Thursday from the South Pole, the US National Science Foundation said.

The 86-year-old former astronaut was in stable condition when he left the Amundsen-Scott South Pole Station on an emergency flight to McMurdo Station, a US scientific base on Antarctica's Ross Island, tour operator White Desert said.

“Mr Aldrin was visiting the Pole as part of a tourist group and while there his condition deteriorated,” White Desert said in a statement.

As a “precaution,” he was placed on the first available flight with the US Antarctic Programme, which runs the National Science Foundation's efforts on the frozen continent.

After the flight to McMurdo on a ski-equipped LC-130 military cargo plane, Aldrin is to be flown to New Zealand as soon as possible.

Aldrin landed with Neil Armstrong on the moon in 1969 as a part of the Apollo 11 lunar mission.