New Zealand officials are coordinating search for Kenn Borek Air employees
By Christopher Walsh
The fate of three Canadians lost in Antarctica after the Kenn Borek Air plane went down Tuesday night is still not known, but officials are continuing their search despite bad weather.
The three — all employees of Kenn Borek Air — were on their way from the South Pole to an Italian research station at Terra Nova Bay when their Twin Otter plane began transmitting an emergency beacon Tuesday night. But rescuers were unable to locate the plane due to high winds and cloudy conditions in the mountainous Queen Alexandra range.
Pilot Bob Heath has been identified as one of the missing crew. Heath has over 25 years experience flying in extreme conditions, according to reports.
“Captain Bob Heath is my step father and we are so very worried about him,” said Helen Prest, in CTV Calgary’s website comments. “He is the best pilot and we pray he gets home safe. My mother Lucy Heath and all of us are patiently waiting for you and your crew to found safe. I wish the damn weather would hold up so you can be found.”
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The condition of the trio is not known, nor the circumstances around the plane going down. The emergency beacon has since fallen silent, although authorities suggest that could be due to a dead battery.
Calgary-based Kenn Borek Air specializes in air travel throughout the Arctic and Antarctic and every plane has emergency equipment on board for these kinds of situations, according to reports.
New Zealand officials, who are coordinating the search with Canadian and Italian teams, plan to set up a base 50 km from the location of the downed plane to be used by search planes and helicopters.
Canadian authorities have been in contact with New Zealand officials but did not have any further updates on the state of the missing crew.