Body of Antarctic helicopter pilot back in Australia

Flags at half mast
The Australian and Canadian flags flying at half-mast at Davis station in honour of David Wood. (Photo: Clive McMahon)

The body of David Wood, the helicopter pilot who died after an incident on a remote Antarctic ice shelf earlier this week, has been flown to Tasmania over the weekend.

Mr Wood’s body was flown from Davis station to Australia’s Antarctic ice runway, Wilkins Aerodrome, on a Basler aircraft then to Hobart aboard the Australian Antarctic Division’s A319 Airbus. Members of Mr Wood’s family were aboard the A319 Airbus.

The Australian Antarctic Division extends its thanks to the Chinese and Indian Antarctic programs for providing aircraft support to assist with the repatriation.

Mr Wood, 62, a dual Canadian and Australian citizen, was working with the Australian Antarctic program at Davis research station when he fell into a crevasse on the West Ice Shelf about 90 nautical miles north east of Davis.

The incident occurred on Monday (11 January 2016) when Mr Wood, who had landed his aircraft after sling loading fuel to a depot on the ice shelf, was attempting to recover the sling.

A team of specialist search and rescue officers retrieved Mr Wood and he was taken to the Antarctic Division’s medical facility at Davis station in a critical condition but despite the best possible medical care, he died on Tuesday (12 January 2016).

Mr Wood’s family are planning funeral arrangements in Winnipeg (Manitoba, Canada). In a public statement, they have asked that their privacy be respected.