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2 Die, 9 Hurt as Research Plane Crash-Lands in Antarctica

December 10, 1987|From the Associated Press

Two Americans died and nine were injured in the crash Wednesday of a U.S. research plane in Antarctica as it tried to land on a runway of packed snow.

The plane was attached to the Navy's Antarctic Development Squadron 6 at Point Mugu, Calif. It is one of six LC-130s that the United States has in Antarctica.

Ten of those aboard the ski-equipped LC-130, including the dead, were Navy personnel, the Navy said. The other was a civilian.

The plane crashed about 860 miles northeast of McMurdo Station on McMurdo Sound, the main U.S. base in Antarctica, said Cmdr. Bob Harler, who coordinates U.S. activities in Antarctica from Christchurch, New Zealand.

Dead are Lt. Cmdr. Bruce Bailey, 45, and Aviation Storekeeper 2nd Class Donald M. Beatty, 24, both based at Point Mugu, according to Nancy Duncan, a spokeswoman at Point Mugu.

The most seriously injured was Lt. Cmdr. Einar Corelli, 45, who is also stationed at Point Mugu, she said. Corelli was taken to McMurdo Station "for further medical evaluation."

The plane was owned by the National Science Foundation but was flown by a Navy crew.

Navy Cmdr. Jim Mitchell told Radio New Zealand in a telephone interview from Hawaii that the eight others had minor injuries.

The Navy said the plane caught fire after the crash. It said a team of military and contractor personnel at the site helped extinguish the flames.

The LC-130s are the primary workhorses for about 1,200 Americans on the frozen continent during the polar summer, which lasts from October to mid-December.

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