Plane wreckage found in Antarctic

The wreckage of the Twin Otter aircraft missing in the Antarctic since Wednesday night has been found.

The aircraft wreckage is located on a very steep slope, close to the summit of Mt Elizabeth.

Rescuers say there are no signs of activity in the area surrounding the site and the aircraft appears to have made a direct impact that was not survivable. No details are available on the cause of the crash.

The site of the crash is at a height of 3,900 metres at the northern end of the Queen Alexandra Range, within New Zealand's Search and Rescue Region - halfway between the South Pole and McMurdo Station (approximately 680km or 370 nautical miles in each direction).

Two helicopters, including a Southern Lakes helicopter on contract to Scott Base, reached the site at around 7.15pm (NZ time), having travelled from McMurdo Base this afternoon to a forward base at Beardmore Glacier, about 50km from the crash site.

A landing was not possible, but they were able to survey the site briefly before returning to the Beardmore Glacier site.

The Rescue Coordination Centre New Zealand (RCCNZ) has coordinated the search for the aircraft, working with United States and Canadian authorities.

RCCNZ Search and Rescue Mission Coordinator Tracy Brickles said it was very sad end to the operation.

"It has been difficult operation in challenging conditions but we remained hopeful of a positive result. Our thoughts are now with the families of the crewmen."

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