Australian Antarctic plane damaged

CASA 212-400 aircraft
CASA 212-400 aircraft. Photo: Frederique Olivier
Bunger HillsEdgeworth-David field camp at Bunger Hills

A plane used by the Australian Antarctic Program has been damaged during landing near Australia’s Casey station.

Four air crew, two pilots and two engineers, on board the CASA 212-400 were not injured in the incident.

The Australian Antarctic Division’s Acting Director, Rob Wooding, said the plane’s main gear on one side was displaced and there was some buckling of the fuselage when it unexpectedly hit some sastrugi (hard, ridged ice) on landing yesterday evening.

“The plane was making a planned stop off at Bunger Hills, 430 kilometres west of Casey station, when the incident occurred,” Rob Wooding said.

“The air crew are comfortably accommodated in the field huts at Bunger Hills and have enough food and fuel to last more than a month.”

“The engineers are now assessing the damage to the aircraft before a decision on recovery plans is made. The plane will be out of service for an undetermined period,” Dr Wooding said.

The Antarctic Division’s second CASA-212 is on stand-by to retrieve the air crew if required.

The impact on the rest of Australia’s Antarctic season is also being assessed.