Plane missing at South Pole

23:20, Jan 23 2013

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

The Rescue Co-ordination Centre New Zealand is co-ordinating the search after the Twin Otter aircraft's emergency locator transmitter was activated at around 10 o'clock last night.

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

Search and rescue co-ordinator 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 sight the downed aircraft.

A second Twin Otter was scheduled to take off this morning (NZ time) from McMurdo Station to fly over the area, with the aim of establishing a forward base about 50km from the site, which is in a mountainous area.

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

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

Weather conditions are currently poor, with total cloud cover and increasing winds.


The Southland Times