28 Jan 2013

Bodies to remain at plane crash site for months

6:23 pm on 28 January 2013

The bodies of the three Canadian men who were on board a plane that crashed in Antarctica last week will not be recovered until at least October.

The wreckage of a Twin Otter plane with three Canadians on board was found on Saturday night on Mount Elizabeth, three days after it went missing.

Antarctica New Zealand operations manager Graeme Ayres says conditions are too difficult to be able to enter the front of the plane which is embedded in snow and ice.

He said the recovery of the bodies will have to wait until the next Antarctic Science season in October when the weather improves.

Mr Ayres says the teams have found a voice recorder which will help determine how the crash happened.

Meanwhile, accident investigators say there will not be a New Zealand investigation into the fatal plane crash, despite it occuring in an area where New Zealand is responsible for rescue operations.

The Transport Accident Investigation Commission says it has been decided by the authorities involved that Canada will lead the investigation.

It says the Canadian Transportation Safety Board has requested a New Zealand representative to liaise with it, but that is the extent of this country's involvement.

If the Canadians decide to send an investigation team to Antarctica, the commission says it has offered to send one of its investigators to help.