No Kiwis in Antarctica chopper crash-landing

No New Zealanders were on board a helicopter which crash landed in Antarctica early yesterday morning, it has been revealed.

The helicopter - chartered by the Australian Antarctic Division - had three people on board when it was forced to make an emergency landing.

Initial reports from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade last night suggested a New Zealander was on board; however, that has since been discounted

"It has now been confirmed that all three on board a helicopter that made an emergency landing in Antarctica were Australians. No New Zealanders were on board," a spokeswoman said today.

The helicopter landed 150 nautical miles from Davis station while returning from a scientific mission to survey a penguin colony near the Amery ice shelf, the Australian Antarctic Division said.

"The pilot and two passengers were injured in the incident. The helicopter was travelling in tandem with a second helicopter which immediately set down and assisted the injured," the statement said.

"The pilot and a passenger on the second helicopter are caring for the injured until additional medical support can be flown to the area and a recovery operation mounted."

Rescuers were last night hoping a weather window would assist with the recovery of those on board.

A Basler aircraft left Davis station yesterday afternoon looking for viable landing areas for a Twin Otter aircraft which it is hoped can establish a suitable staging point to begin the transfer of the injured to Davis station, the organisation stated.

Reports from the incident site were that all crew members were warm, sheltered and being closely monitored. Communication was being maintained with Davis station.

"At this stage it is not known what caused the incident to the helicopter, operated by Helicopter Resources, and chartered by the Australian Antarctic Division."

- Brendan Manning of APNZ

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