Three Australian air crew returned to Davis station at 4pm Australian Eastern Summer Time today after spending 10 days with their damaged aircraft near the Amery Ice Shelf.

Their CASA 212–400 was grounded on January 5 after sustaining damage during take-off around 400 nautical miles inland from Australia’s Davis station.

The Australian Antarctic Division’s (AAD) Air Transport Manager Charlton Clark said that repairs had been made to hydraulics and rivets.

“Two engineers, who flew to the site on Friday (Jan 13) by helicopter during a break in the weather, were able to inspect the aircraft and reported that there was no sign of any other damage.

“The aircraft was cleared for take-off early yesterday (Jan 15) morning and made 90-minute flight to Beaver Lake, about halfway to Davis station.

“The crew rested overnight at Beaver Lake before continuing.”

Mr Clark said that the Australian Antarctic Division was indebted to CHINARE — the Chinese National Antarctic Research Expedition — for its assistance in ferrying fuel to Beaver Lake to facilitate the operation.

“CHINARE had offered the assistance of its helicopters from Zhongshan which is close to Davis station,” he said.