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Chinese helicopter crashes on Antarctica, crew safe


13:23, December 09, 2011

File photo of the crashed helicopter. (Xinhua Photo)

BEIJING, Dec. 9 (Xinhua) -- A helicopter serving a Chinese scientific expedition in the Antarctic crashed at 0:20 a.m. Beijing Time Friday, the State Oceanic Administration (SOA) said.

Both of the helicopter's crew members survived the crash, although one of them was slightly injured, a statement from the administration said.

The helicopter's pilot lost control of the craft while flying back to the polar icebreaker Snow Dragon after bringing supplies to China's Zhongshan research station, the statement said.

The helicopter crashed into an iceberg after an attempt at a forced landing failed, it said.

The helicopter's crew members were taken to the Snow Dragon for treatment shortly after the accident, the statement said.

The helicopter, purchased from Russia in December 2008, began to serve in Chinese Antarctic expeditions in 2009 and was taking part in its third mission when the crash occurred.

The cause of the accident is under investigation and the expedition has been temporarily halted in order to allow researchers to collect evidence, the statement said.

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