The Director of the Australian Antarctic Division Dr Tony Fleming says the Australian Antarctic community is deeply saddened by the plane crash in Antarctica and thoughts are with the families, friends and colleagues of the crew.

Dr Fleming said the Twin Otter operated by Canadian based Kenn Borek Air, which crashed in the Queen Alexandra Range halfway between the South Pole and McMurdo station on Wednesday, had worked with the Australian Antarctic program over the summer season.

“The crew were great friends of the Australian Antarctic program and our expeditioners,” Dr Fleming said.

“The air crew were very well respected and had been embraced as part of our Antarctic station communities, we are deeply saddened by their loss,” he said.

“A couple of the crew had just completed a third year working with us in Antarctica performing a vital role supporting our science and moving expeditioners between stations during the season.

“I know they loved working with us and we certainly enjoyed and valued their contribution and friendship,” Dr Fleming said.

“Our hearts go out to their families, friends and colleagues at Kenn Borek Air as we share their grief at this time.”

Dr Fleming flew to Australia’s Wilkins Runway in Antarctica today to meet with some of the Antarctic expeditioners who are mourning the loss of their great friends.