Passengers rescued after Antarctic plane crash

Last updated 00:00 01/01/2009

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A passenger on an aircraft which crashed while taking off from a remote research site in west Antarctica has told of the plane tumbling over the ice.

The National Science Foundation (NSF) charter aircraft sustained heavy damage on Thursday after one side failed to lift off, catching the ice and sending the passengers and equipment spinning.

NSF officials refused to release any details to The Press. However, an unidentified passenger has revealed details of the accident in an online report.

"My seat came unbolted from the floor with me still strapped into the seatbelt," the passenger said.

"When we finally came to a halt, we were all in big pile in the corner of the plane with all of the equipment. We got shaken up pretty bad, but there were no major injuries other than some minor cuts and bruises."

The Canadian-owned charter plane, returning from fieldwork dropping global positioning system units and seismic sensors, was severely damaged.

"The wings, props, and tail all got bent up pretty bad, " the passenger said. "The landing gear, skis, and hydraulic system all were ripped from the plane and strewn about the ice."

The 10 passengers were marooned on the west Antarctic ice sheet for 20 hours before two Twin Otter aircraft from the United States McMurdo Station completed a rescue.


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- The Press

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