Prime Minister John Key was due to touch down in Antarctica this evening, but he was lucky to even get away after fainting in a busy Christchurch restaurant.
Bad weather yesterday delayed the trip's departure until this morning, so the Prime Minister went out last night for a dinner at the popular Tutto Bene restaurant in Christchurch.
Chef Felice Mannucci says Mr Key and his party had been in the restaurant for some time before he fainted.
“After about two hours he got up from his chair, he comes around here and he fainted and he sat in this chair and people tried to help him,” he says.
The restaurant was full at the time and as Mr Key collapsed, diners gasped in shock.
“Everyone was very worried about it.”
According to Mr Mannucci the Prime Minister spent about five minutes sitting down recovering at the table before leaving with the help of others.
From the restaurant Mr Key was brought to the emergency department at Christchurch Hospital. Over about two hours he was seen by three specialists before being ticked off and sent home to bed.
This morning Tutto Benne received a text message from the Prime Minister's minder assuring the owners it wasn't their food, and was probably just jet lag.
“I was very relieved because I cooked his dinner, I was so worried I couldn't sleep all night,” Mr Mannucci says.
Despite the scare, the Prime Minister was given the all-clear to fly to Antarctica.
A United States Hercules took off from Christchurch around 9am and was due to land at McMurdo station around 6pm.