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Three Canadians missing on flight over Antarctica

A rescue operation is underway in Antarctica involving two planes and a helicopter after a plane carrying three Canadian men went down Tuesday night.

New Zealand’s Rescue Coordination Centre at Scott Base on Ross Island has dispatched a DC-3 plane to scout the remote crash site, where the Canadian Twin Otter’s emergency locator transmitter was activated at around 10 p.m. Tuesday.

“What they’re hoping to do is get above where the beacon is transmitting from and then they’ll be able to report on weather conditions,” said Rescue Coordination Centre spokesperson Michael Flyger.

“Hopefully if there’s a break in the cloud cover, they’ll potentially be able to drop some supplies down the site and establish radio contact with them.”

The plane was flying from the South Pole to an Italian base at Terra Nova Bay. Rescuers confirmed that its emergency beacon is transmitting from the Northern end of the Queen Alexandra Range.

A previous scouting mission was dispatched from the American McMurdo Station on Ross Island off the Antarctic shore, but was unable to find the plane because of the heavy cloud cover.

Rescuers say conditions may be improving.

“The weather looks like it’s significantly improving at McMurdo station and Scott Base,” Flyger said.

A second Twin Otter and a helicopter are waiting at McMurdo Station ready to be dispatched if the scout plane gives the go-ahead.

“That all depends on the cloud cover not being as heavy as it is and hopefully the wind will drop a bit as well because it is extremely windy,” Flyger said. – News

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