26 Jan 2013

No survivors in Antarctic crash

10:44 pm on 26 January 2013

The wreckage of a Twin Otter plane carrying three Canadian men in Antarctica has been found, rescuers saying the crash would have been unsurvivable.

Rescuers say the plane crashed close to the summit of Mt Elizabeth in the northern end of the Queen Alexandra Range, close to the Ross Sea.

A Twin Otter aircraft spotted the tail of the plane and two helicopters were sent to investigate further just after 7pm Saturday.

The Rescue Coordination Centre said they were able to survey the scene only briefly, but the plane appeared to have hit the mountain head on and was not survivable.

The families of the three men have been informed.

Rescue Coordination Centre spokesperson Pania Shingleton said the rescuers had hopes of finding the men alive.

"It's always a difficult situation, you always hope for the best. And even in the last two or three days we were hoping that there may be a chance they had survived. Very unfortunate and a pretty sad end to the operation."

Ms Shingleton said their thoughts are with the men's families.

RCCNZ SAID rescue teams were not able to land at the crash site because of high winds.

Crews have since returned to the search and rescue base set up at Beardmore Glacier 50km from the crash site, and will attempt to get to the wreckage early Sunday morning.

A DC-3 aircraft dropped off supplies for the rescue teams at the glacier base, who are expected to remain there for a few days.