January 13, 2016 / 6:54 AM / in 2 years

Antarctic helicopter pilot dies after falling into a crevasse

SYDNEY (Reuters) - A Canadian helicopter pilot has died after falling into a crevasse on a remote ice shelf in Antarctica while refueling a depot, the Australian Antarctic Division said on Wednesday.

David Wood, 62, a veteran pilot on the continent, slid about 20 meters (65 feet) into the crack in the ice while disembarking from his helicopter on Monday.

He was airlifted to Davis Station, about 2,250 nautical miles southwest of Perth, and died on Tuesday. The details of his injuries were not disclosed.

“There is always inherent risk in traveling to Antarctica. David was amongst the most experienced of the Antarctic pilots,” Nick Gales, Australian Antarctic Division director, told a news conference in the city of Hobart.

“At this stage, we anticipate repatriating David’s body by air, possibly this weekend when a weather window opens up,” Gales said.

The Australian Antarctic Division administers claim to 42 percent of the Antarctic continent.

The southern hemisphere summer is the busiest time in Antarctica as research is stepped up. This year, studies are underway to investigate the impact of climate change by monitoring the population of krill.

Reporting by Pauline Askin; Editing by Robert Birsel

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