Transportation Safety Board looking for cause of plane crash in Antarctica

Officials from Canada are investigating a plane crash in Antarctica that appears to have killed all three crew members on board.

Julie Leroux of the Transportation Safety Board says that since the Twin Otter was operated by a Canadian company, Kenn Borek Air of Calgary, Canadian officials have already started working on the investigation.

Two helicopters dispatched by the Rescue Coordination Centre in New Zealand have confirmed earlier sightings of the wreckage of the missing craft on a steep slope near the summit of Mount Elizabeth.

Officials with the centre said the impact appears to have been direct and would not have been survivable.

Leroux says Canadian investigators have already collected data and conducted interviews, but she says they don’t know yet whether it will be possible to reach the remote crash site.

The plane took off last Wednesday from the South Pole, headed to an Italian base in Antarctica’s Terra Nova Bay, but it never arrived.

According to a statement released Friday by Kenn Borek Air, helicopter crews and mountain rescue personnel will attempt to access the crash site on Saturday if weather conditions are favourable.

The pilot has been identified by friends as Bob Heath of Inuvik while media reports have identified a second crew member as Mike Denton, a newlywed from Calgary whose photographs of planes appear on the Kenn Borek website.

The third crew member had not yet been identified.

New Zealand officials say the next of kin of the three men have been informed.




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