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Chinese helicopter crashes into Antarctic iceberg

(Chinanews.com)

11:25, December 12, 2011

Two helicopter pilots miraculously survived a crash into an iceberg in the Antarctic that occurred after a failed attempt at an emergency landing last Friday.

The Xueying Ka-32 helicopter, which was serving a Chinese scientific expedition, suddenly lost control on its way back to the polar icebreaker Xuelong after transporting supplies to China's Antarctic Zhongshan Station.

The two pilots were taken back to the icebreaker ship for medical treatment. One pilot suffered mild abrasions, according to a report by CCTV.

The State Oceanic Administration has ordered the expedition to suspend all planned activities and to collect the wreckage of the helicopter. The cause of the accident is now under careful investigation.

The Xueying helicopter, imported from Russia in December 2008, began serving Chinese Antarctic expeditions in 2009 and was on its third mission when the crash occurred.

The Polar Research Institute of China is the owner of the helicopter, but it commissioned CITIC General Aviation to operate it during the mission.

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