Good news for Antarctic rescue

A forecasted break in the weather could be the best opportunity for searchers to find a group of Canadians missing in Antarctica.

Steve Rendle of New Zealand's Rescue Coordination Centre said skies were expected to clear in the area Saturday morning local time, Friday afternoon in Alberta, which could allow rescue teams to fly over where the plane owned by Calgary-based Kenn Borek Air is believed to have gone down.

The Twin Otter began transmitting signals from its emergency locator beacon early Wednesday. Aircraft tried twice to spot it in the mountainous area where it went down but failed due to heavy, low cloud.

If the weather clears, Rendle said they hope to establish a base of operations at a runway and fuel depot located at the Beardmore Glacier, about 50 kilometres from the presumed crash site.

From there, helicopters would be dispatched to search for the craft.

Rendle said the signal from the locator beacon is no longer being received.

"But that's to be expected as the battery life is limited," he explained, adding it's not a problem, as rescue teams have a fix on the beacon's coordinates.

Rendle wouldn't say if it's a concern that there have been no communications with the plane's crew, saying there are a number of scenarios that could explain the silence.

"But we don't speculate on what we haven't been able to see," he said. "There's no point in it."

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