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Search for missing aircraft in Antarctica - wreckage found - Update #9

26 January 2013, 7.45pm

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

The aircraft wreckage is on a very steep slope, close to the summit of Mt Elizabeth. It appears to have made a direct impact that was not survivable.  No details are available on the cause of the crash.

The next of kin have been informed.

The site of the crash is at a height of 3,900m (13,000 feet) 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. 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.”

For further information contact:
Maritime New Zealand Media Line
Phone 04 499 7318


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