Search for Missing Plane in Antarctica

Rescue attempt with locator beacon

Ryan O'Hanlon

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Three Canadian men aboard a Twin Otter plane went missing while flying from the South Pole to Terra Nova Bay in Antarctica on Wednesday. The aircraft’s emergency locator transmitter was activated around 10 p.m. local time, but rough weather and heavy cloud cover hindered a rescue operation.

Conditions cleared enough on Thursday for New Zealand authorities to send out a search plane:

Today MNZ said a Twin Otter set off from McMurdo about 4.30 a.m. with the aim of flying over the beacon’s transmission site, which was at an elevation of about 4,000 meters, in the hope of being able to see what was on the ground.

MNZ spokesman Steve Rendle said weather conditions had moderated to the extent the search plane was able to fly to the site, but helicopters were still not able to make the trip.

“So things are improving and we hope they continue to,” he said.

The intention was that after the search plane had flown over the transmitter it would try to land at a site about 50km from the beacon’s location. It was also hoped to get helicopters to that site and operate them from it.

According to Huffington Post Canada, the missing plane’s pilot has been confirmed as “Bob Heath, the ‘star pilot’ of Calgary’s go-anywhere airline Kenn Borek.”

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