Rescuers found today the wreckage of an aircraft that went missing in Antarctica with three Canadians aboard, with officials describing the crash on the steep mountainside as “not survivable”.

The Twin Otter disappeared in a remote mountain range on Wednesday while on a supply run from the South Pole to Italy’s Antarctic base at Terra Nova Bay.

After efforts to reach the plane were frustrated for four days due to bad weather, helicopters late today reached the crash site at an altitude of 3,900 metres (13,000 feet) in the Queen Alexandra mountain range.

“The aircraft wreckage is on a very steep slope, close to the summit of Mount Elizabeth. It appears to have made a direct impact that was not survivable,” the Rescue Coordination Centre New Zealand said.

Centre coordinator Tracy Brickles said it was a sad end to the rescue effort.

“It has been a difficult operation in challenging conditions, but we remained hopeful of a positive result. Our thoughts are now with the families of the crewmen,” Brickles said.

The plane belonged to Canada’s Kenn Borek Air, a firm based in Calgary that charters aircraft to the US Antarctic programme.

(This article was published on January 26, 2013)
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