Plane's direct impact crash 'unsurvivable'

00:16, Jan 28 2013
Richard "Hannibal" Hayes
Richard "Hannibal" Hayes.

The search and rescue mission involving a Twin Otter aircraft missing in Antarctica since Wednesday with three crew on board has moved into a recovery phase, after wreckage of the plane was located on Saturday.

The Unified Incident Command, a joint United States Antarctica Programme and Antarctica New Zealand incident management unit, is now leading the recovery and says the aircraft wreckage is on a steep slope, close to the summit of Mt Elizabeth at the northern end of the Queen Alexandra Range - halfway between the South Pole and McMurdo Station (approximately 680km or 370 nautical miles in each direction).

No details were available on the cause of the crash but Rescue Co-ordination Centre NZ operations manager John Seward said the plane appears to have made a direct impact that was not survivable.

Two helicopters, including one from Southern Lakes Helicopters on contract to Scott Base, reached the site on Saturday.

A Southern Lakes Helicopters spokeswoman confirmed Southland pilot Richard "Hannibal" Hayes had been at the crash site on Saturday night.


The Southland Times