On Wednesday a Twin Otter with a Canadian crew went down in Antarctica. The aircraft was enroute from the South Pole base to an Italian base, but failed to arrive. An ELT signal indicated the aircraft position, but the weather was too bad to start an immediate rescue mission. The crew was experienced and well-equipped, with ample cold weather survival equipment and food for five days, and everyone had confidence in the captain.
I just learned that an American C130 Hercules crew spotted the wreckage, and another Twin Otter has flown by to confirm their findings. Weather still prevents rescuers from reaching the aircraft, but due to the appearance of the wreckage the crash is deemed unsurvivable.
I so thoroughly bought the image of Captain Heath and crew trading jokes and rationing supplies in their survival tents that the second piece of news came as far more of a shock than it should have. I don't know any of the crew personally, but it's certain that I know someone who does, and likely that I've chatted with one of them at an airport somewhere. It makes me think of another incident, another missing crew and aircraft, and another group of people totally deluding ourselves into believing that SAR would find the crew sitting on a glacier, waiting for rescue. You always do. Sometimes it happens. I worked with someone who was rescued uninjured after just such an incident. Sometimes it doesn't. Now it's a recovery operation. Thanks to the New York National Guard guys for your help, too.