Search and rescue teams have located wreckage from a plane that crashed in Antarctica, and New Zealand authorities believe all three people on board perished. The remote area of the crash site coupled with winter weather conditions prevented rescue teams from recovering the bodies. The earliest crews can return for the remains will likely be October.
The Twin Otter aircraft owned and operated by Calgary-based Kenn Borek Air Ltd was chartered to the U.S. Antarctic Program. The plane was traveling from an American station in the South Pole to an Italian research base at Terra Nova Bay when it crashed Wednesday near the summit of Mount Elizabeth in Queen Alexandra Range. The men on board have been identified as pilot Bob Heath, and crew members Mike Denton and Perry Andersen.
Search crews found the front of the plane imbedded in snow and ice. They were able to recover the voice recorder from tail of the plane.
“On behalf of the U.S. National Science Foundation and all in the U.S. Antarctic Program, I wish to extend our profound sympathies to the families, friends, and colleagues of the three Kenn Borek Twin Otter crew, whose deaths in Antarctica while en route to support the Italian national Antarctic science program have recently been confirmed,” said Kelly K. Falkner, the director of the foundation’s Division of Polar Programs. “In many ways, their contributions make possible hard won but vital advances in scientific knowledge that serve all of mankind. Although everyone associated with the pursuit of science in Antarctica makes personal sacrifices to do so, very infrequently and sadly, some make the ultimate sacrifice.”
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