Canadian helicopter pilot dies in Antarctica
A Canadian helicopter pilot is dead after falling into an icy crevasse, near an Australian research station in Antarctica Monday evening.
Pilot David Wood, 62, fell about 20 metres into the crevasse after landing on a remote ice shelf about 160 kilometres northeast of Australia’s Davis Station late Monday, Australian Antarctic Division said in a statement.
The pilot was flying one of two helicopters that had delivered fuel drums to a depot on the West Ice Shelf, the research station said.
“Mr. Wood was a respected colleague and friend to many in the Australian Antarctic program, with which he has been involved for a number of years,” Australian Antarctic Division director Dr. Nick Gales said in a statement.
Unable to assist Wood, the second pilot made radio contact with the research station and flew back for help rescuing the Canadian.
A three-member rescue team from Davis was able to retrieve Wood, who was then flown by helicopter to a medical facility at Davis in critical condition.
The Canadian government said consular officials are providing assistance to Wood’s family.
“Our thoughts are with the family and friends of the Canadian citizen who passed away in Antarctica,” Amy Mills, a Global Affairs Canada spokesperson, said in a statement.
On Tuesday afternoon, the Canadian Press reported Wood to be from Manitoba.
Bruno Meili of Fireweed Helicopters in Whitehorse, and a friend of the pilot, said Wood spent most summers flying charters and fighting forest fires in the North, the news agency reported.
The Division is working to return Wood’s body to Australia at the earliest opportunity.
–with a file from The Associated Press.
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