Blowing snow and a howling wind have grounded the search for a missing Twin Otter plane owned and operated by Calgary-based Kenn Borek Air.
The plane, with three people onboard, disappeared Tuesday night on a flight between the South Pole and Terra Nova Bay.
Despite several flyovers, crews from the air could not spot the plane, which apparently went down in an inaccessible mountainous area.
Weather in the area has deteriorated, forcing rescue officials to ground planes and helicopters until at least Saturday morning.
New Zealand rescue co-ordination officials say the plane’s emergency beacon has also gone silent, likely because of a dead battery.
The pilot of the plane has been identified as Bob Heath, who hails from Inuvik, in the Northwest Territories.
No word when Kenn Borek Air will release the names of the two other people who were onboard.
The plane was equipped with survival gear and five days of supplies.
Kenn Borek Air has been in operation since 1970.
According to the company’s website, 14 aircraft participated in its 2012 Antarctic season.
The company, which is also a fixture in Canada’s North, has been sending planes to Antarctica for the past 28 years.
In 2001, its pilots and planes were involved in the daring rescue of an ailing American doctor from the Amundsen-Scott South Pole Station.
In 2009, the company was commissioned to recover an aircraft that had been involved in an accident nearly a year earlier. A 12-person Kenn Borek recovery crew spent 25 days at a remote field camp on the eastern side of the Antarctic Plateau to carry out the operation.