Two helicopters carrying engineers have reached the grounded aircraft in Antarctica.

The Squirrel helicopters carrying two engineers, repair equipment and additional supplies arrived on site just before 4 pm Australian Eastern Summer Time today.

The engineers will assess damage to the CASA 212 aircraft, which became grounded around 400 nautical miles inland from Davis station, after sustaining damage during take-off eight days ago (5 January 2006).

The three people on board the aircraft — the pilot, first officer and aircraft ground support officer — are fine with all the necessary equipment and supplies for the conditions.

The helicopters left Beaver Lake at 1:45pm AEST when the previously troublesome weather conditions cleared enough to allow the flight to go ahead.

Earlier today additional fuel supplies had been ferried to Beaver Lake, 180 nautical miles from the grounded CASA, in anticipation of the flight.

The Australian Antarctic Division’s Air Transport Manager Charlton Clark said that it would take some time to properly assess the damage to the aircraft.