A helicopter of the German research vessel Polarstern crashed near the German research station Neumayer II last Sunday morning. Two people lost their lives and three others were wounded in the accident.
Family of the victims have been informed about the accident. The two visctims are the 37-year old German pilot and a 45-year old Dutch scientist. The other victims (a 25-year old woman from France, a 24-year old man from Germany and a 27-year old man from The Netherlands) are in hospital onboard the Polarstern for medical attention. As soon as the weather conditions are good they will be flown from the Antartic to South-Africa, but this will not be before March 5. The cause of the accident could not be determined yet. The helicopter was on a flight from the Polarstern to research station Neumayer II. The weather conditions were good at the time of the accident.
"I am deeply shocked by the accident," says professor Karin Lochte, director of the Alfred-Wegener-Institute. "I express my condolences to the family of the victims. Such a terrible accident didn't happen at the Neumayer-Station yet. We wish all onboard and at the research center all the best, and hope the wounded will recover soon."
The research vessel Polarstern is on its 24 Antarctic expedition. It left Capetown on February 10. For the supply and maintenance of the Neumayer-Station a short stay at the ice edge was intended. The Polarstern will stay near the Neumayer-Station until March 5. After this the expedition will continue and will end in Punta Arenas, Chile, at the end of April.
At the moment construction work at the Neumayer II Station will take place for the new Neumayer III Station. The building site is made winterproof for the Antartic winter. The construction team was not haltet by the accident and will leave the Antartic in approximately one week.