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Crashed Antarctic copter to return to China

By Hou Lei  (China Daily)

18:40, December 12, 2011

The crashed Antarctic research helicopter "Snow Eagle" is seen in this picture taken on Dec 11, 2011. [Photo/Xinhua]

The wreckage of the crashed Antarctic research helicopter Snow Eagle will be returned to China next year, Beijing News reported Monday.

The helicopter, a Russia-made KA-32, crashed into an iceberg after delivering supplies to China's Zhongshan research station as part of the 28th Antarctic research expedition team's task.

Both pilots survived the accident, one was slightly injured.

The wreckage was pulled back to Zhongshan station by two PB240 snow groomers at 3:10 am local time on Sunday. The black box was removed from the KA-32 and its data successfully retrieved, the newspaper reported.

"The salvage work has been completed basically, and the wreckage will be brought back to China when our polar icebreaker Snow Dragon returns to Zhongshan station next year," Li Yuansheng, head of the expedition team was quoted as saying.

The Snow Dragon arrived at Zhongshan station on November 29 and is scheduled to leave mid-December, heading to China's Antarctic Great Wall Station. It is expected to return to Zhongshan station next February.

The crash of the helicopter has affected the supplies and equipment delivery to Zhongshan station. The expedition team will continue the delivery work later if sea ice won't affect the safety of the icebreaker.

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