Plane carrying 3 Canadians goes missing in Antarctica
Published Wednesday, January 23, 2013 3:12PM EST
Last Updated Wednesday, January 23, 2013 9:09PM EST
A search is underway for an airplane carrying three Canadian men that’s gone missing in Antarctica.
The Twin Otter aircraft’s emergency locator transmitter was activated around 10 p.m. Wednesday night as the plane was en route from the South Pole to an Italian base in Terra Nova Bay. The beacon’s signal is coming from the north end of Antarctica's Queen Alexandra range.
The plane is owned by Calgary-based Kenn Borek Air. There are unconfirmed reports that the pilot is Bob Heath, who lives in Inuvik, N.W.T.
It’s believed that Heath was accompanied by a co-pilot and an engineer on the flight.
Rescue Coordination Centre New Zealand is coordinating the search as the plane’s beacon is transmitting within New Zealand’s Search and Rescue region.
Weather conditions are currently poor, with high winds and total cloud cover.
Mike Flyger of the rescue co-ordination centre told CTV News Channel that the pilot seems to be “very experienced in these conditions” and he should have the necessary equipment to keep himself and his passengers safe and warm until rescuers arrive.
Flyger said the Twin Otter appears to have been on a routine flight, but he did not have any information about the plane’s occupants.
Authorities at the U.S. McMurdo Station have also been asked to assist in the search. A U.S. Air National Guard C-130 aircraft flew to the position where the emergency transmitter was triggered but was unable to spot a downed aircraft.
A joint New Zealand and U.S. field rescue team will attempt to reach the site by helicopter when the weather conditions improve.
Kenn Borek Air has been in operation since 1970 and has been sending planes to Antarctica for 28 years.
With files from The Canadian Press