text-only page produced automatically by LIFT Text Transcoder Skip all navigation and go to page contentSkip top navigation and go to directorate navigationSkip top navigation and go to page navigation
National Science Foundation Home National Science Foundation - Geosciences (GEO)
Polar Programs (PLR)
design element
PLR Home
About PLR
Funding Opportunities
Awards
News
Events
Discoveries
Publications
Career Opportunities
Contact POLAR
Polar Programs site map
See Additional PLR Resources
View PLR Staff
GEO Organizations
Atmospheric and Geospace Sciences (AGS)
Earth Sciences (EAR)
Ocean Sciences (OCE)
Polar Programs (PLR)
Proposals and Awards
Proposal and Award Policies and Procedures Guide
  Introduction
Proposal Preparation and Submission
bullet Grant Proposal Guide
  bullet Grants.gov Application Guide
Award and Administration
bullet Award and Administration Guide
Award Conditions
Other Types of Proposals
Merit Review
NSF Outreach
Policy Office
Additional PLR Resources
Antarctic Sciences (ANT)
Antarctic Infrastructure and Logistics (AIL)
Arctic Sciences (ARC)
Polar Environment, Safety and Health (PESH)
Polar Program-supported workshops
Related Polar Links
Polar Publications list
POLAR webmaster
Other Site Features
Special Reports
Research Overviews
Multimedia Gallery
Classroom Resources
NSF-Wide Investments

Email this pagePrint this page


Press Release 13-012
U.S., New Zealand Search-and-Rescue Teams Recalled From Antarctic Plane Crash Site

Voice recorder recovered from wreckage

A Twin Otter in 2006

A Twin Otter aircraft at NSF's Amundsen-Scott South Pole Station is shown in a 2006 photograph.
Credit and Larger Version

January 28, 2013

Officials with the U.S. Antarctic Program (USAP) and Antarctica New Zealand have jointly decided to recall search-and-rescue teams from the site of an Antarctic aircraft crash after examination of the plane indicated that it would be unsafe at this point to further disturb the wreckage that is largely embedded in snow and ice on a steep mountain slope.

The team was able to recover some equipment from the exposed tail of the de Havilland DHC-6 Twin Otter, including the cockpit voice recorder, which should provide aviation authorities with more information about the cause of the crash. However, the team was unable to safely access, and so unable to recover, the remains of the crew.

With the advent of the Antarctic winter, and the generally poor weather conditions at the crash site, any renewed effort to recover the remains will need to wait until the next Antarctic research season.

The joint U.S./New Zealand rescue team will return to the National Science Foundation's (NSF) McMurdo Station and Antarctica New Zealand's Scott Base later today.

Officials of the Italian Antarctic Program and Kenn Borek Air Ltd., the Calgary, Canada-based operator of the aircraft, have been advised of the decision to recall the team.

Communication with the Twin Otter was lost on Wednesday night, New Zealand time, and search-and-rescue operations have been hampered by bad weather and poor visibility since that time.

The plane was flying in support of the Italian Antarctic Program under the logistical responsibility of the Italian National Agency for New Technologies, Energy and Sustainable Economic Development (ENEA). The aircraft was enroute from NSF's Amundsen-Scott South Pole Station to the Italian research station at Terra Nova Bay when contact was lost.

The three crew members were the only people aboard the plane at the time.

On the afternoon of Saturday, Jan. 26, local time, a ski-equipped LC-130 aircraft, operated by the New York Air National Guard for the USAP and flying from McMurdo Station, overflew the last known position from the aircraft emergency beacon and spotted the aircraft tail at an elevation of about 3,900 meters (13,000 feet) on Mt. Elizabeth, a 4,480-meter (14,500-foot) summit in the Queen Alexandra Range of the Transantarctic Mountains.

Subsequently, a Twin Otter carrying U.S. and New Zealand search-and-rescue personnel conducted an aerial survey of the site and determined that a landing by fixed-wing aircraft was not possible.

Later, two helicopters--one under New Zealand charter and the other flown for the USAP by PHI, Inc., of Lafayette, Louisiana--arrived at a small camp established roughly 50 kilometers (31 miles) from the crash location to support the operation.

-NSF-

Media Contacts
Peter West, NSF, (703) 292-7530, pwest@nsf.gov

The National Science Foundation (NSF) is an independent federal agency that supports fundamental research and education across all fields of science and engineering. In fiscal year (FY) 2014, its budget is $7.2 billion. NSF funds reach all 50 states through grants to nearly 2,000 colleges, universities and other institutions. Each year, NSF receives about 50,000 competitive requests for funding, and makes about 11,500 new funding awards. NSF also awards about $593 million in professional and service contracts yearly.

 Get News Updates by Email 

Useful NSF Web Sites:
NSF Home Page: http://www.nsf.gov
NSF News: http://www.nsf.gov/news/
For the News Media: http://www.nsf.gov/news/newsroom.jsp
Science and Engineering Statistics: http://www.nsf.gov/statistics/
Awards Searches: http://www.nsf.gov/awardsearch/

 

border=0/


Email this pagePrint this page
Back to Top of page