World / Asia-Pacific

Rescuers find wreckage of aircraft in Antarctica

(Xinhua) Updated: 2013-01-26 16:23

WELLINGTON - The wreckage of the plane carrying three Canadian men missing in Antarctica since Wednesday has been found on Saturday, and rescuers said the crash would have been unsurvivable.

Rescuers said the plane crashed close to the summit of Mount Elizabeth and there are no signs of activity in the area surrounding the site and the aircraft appears to have made a direct impact that was not survivable.

No details are available on the cause of the crash.

The site of the crash is at a height of 3,900 meters 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 680 km or 370 nautical miles in each direction).

Two helicopters, including a Southern Lakes helicopter on contract to Scott Base, reached the site at around 7:15 pm (NZ time), having traveled from McMurdo Base Saturday afternoon to a forward base at Beardmore Glacier, about 50 km from the crash site.

A landing was not possible though they were able to survey the site briefly before returning to the Beardmore Glacier site.

The next of kin of the three men have been informed. Their Twin Otter aircraft was on a flight from the South Pole to the Italian base in Terra Nova Bay when it was reported missing on Wednesday night.

The Rescue Coordination Center New Zealand has coordinated the search for the aircraft, working with United States and Canadian authorities.

The center's coordinator, Tracy Brickles, said on Saturday that it's a very sad end to the operation, quoted by Radio New Zealand.

The rescue teams have now returned to the search and rescue base at nearby Beardmore Glacier.

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