No flights can get to the site where a plane carrying three
Canadian men crashed in Antarctica, because of continuing
The plane disappeared on a flight from the South Pole to
Terra Nova Bay on Wednesday evening, prompting a rescue
mission led by New Zealand's Rescue Coordination Centre
(RCC), with the help of US and Italian officials.
Its emergency locator beacon was transmitting from the
northern end of the Queen Alexandra Range at a height of
3900m, within New Zealand's Search and Rescue Region - about
680km from both Scott Base and the South Pole.
A Twin Otter plane left McMurdo station and flew over the
crash site this morning to a base north of the site. From
there, helicopters were going to attempt to get to the
location of the emergency beacon.
But this afternoon, the RCC said the weather had not changed
and no flights would take place until conditions improved.
RCC spokesman Steve Rendle said heavy cloud and strong winds
had prevented the Twin Otter from seeing any sign of the
The signal from the locator beacon had also stopped, but that
was not unexpected considering battery life and the extreme
conditions, Mr Rendle said.
RCC search and rescue mission coordinator Kevin Banaghan said
weather conditions remained very challenging and were
forecast to continue for the next 12 hours.
"However, over the next 24 hours winds in the area are
forecast to drop from 90 knots (170km/h) to 20 knots
(35km/h), with cloud forecast to lift and become scattered."
Two helicopters, including a Southern Lakes (New Zealand)
helicopter on contract to Antarctica New Zealand at Scott
Base, remained on standby should weather conditions change.
The missing plane was equipped with survival equipment,
including mountain tents, and supplies sufficient for five
The missing aircraft was owned and operated by Kenn Borek Air
Ltd, a Canadian firm headquartered in Calgary that charters
aircraft to the US programme.