Plane missing in Antarctic

A search is under way in the Antarctic for a plane carrying three Canadian men, reported missing on a flight from the South Pole to the Italian base in Terra Nova Bay.

The Rescue Coordination Centre New Zealand (RCCNZ) is coordinating the search after the Twin Otter aircraft's emergency locator transmitter was activated about 10pm yesterday.

The beacon was transmitting from the Northern end of the Queen Alexandra Range, within New Zealand's Search and Rescue Region.

Search and Rescue Mission Coordinator Mike Roberts said United States authorities at McMurdo were asked for assistance, and an Air National Guard C130 aircraft flew to the position but was unable to see the downed aircraft.

A second Twin Otter, which was scheduled to take off about 8am from McMurdo Station, would fly over the area and would aim to establish a base about 50km from the site, which was in a mountainous area.

A Scott Base helicopter was setting off with the Twin Otter, and would refuel en route.

A joint New Zealand and US field rescue team would attempt to reach the site by helicopter when conditions improved.

At the moment there is heavy cloud and increasing winds.


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