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Search for missing aircraft in Antarctica – Update #6

DATE: 25 January 2012 TIME: 5pm

Search for missing aircraft in Antarctica – Update #6

Progress in the rescue of three Canadians missing during a flight in the Antarctica is still being hampered by bad weather which is expected to continue until tomorrow morning (8am NZ time).

Rescue Coordination Centre New Zealand (RCCNZ) coordinator Kevin Banaghan said the crew of the Twin Otter aircraft have survival equipment and are well trained for the harsh environment.

“Visibility is down to 400m and the snow is almost horizontal with winds at about 20 knots, The weather is expected to improve slightly after 12-24 hours,” says Mr Banaghan. “We are still operating with the expectation we will find them alive.”

Despite several planes searching for the Twin Otter since the beacon was activated on Wednesday night at 10pm no visual sightings have been possible due to cloud. The missing aircraft is about 670km from Scott Base in the Northern end of the Queen Alexandra Range.

Plans are underway to fly two helicopters, including a Southern Lakes (New Zealand) helicopter on contract to Antarctica New Zealand at Scott Base, to Beardmore glacier base, which is about 50km away from the crash site, to enable another search as soon as the weather clears.

A further update will be provided at 8am NZ time unless there are developments overnight. Any media release updates will be available on the maritimenz.govt.nz website.


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