Canadian Pilot dies in Antarctica
A veteran Canadian helicopter pilot David Wood, 62, has died near an Australian Antarctic base after falling into a 65 foot deep crack in an ice shelf.
David Wood had over 30 years of flying experience. His home was in Manitoba, Canada, where he worked as a charter pilot, according to Bruno Meili of Fireweed Helicopters in Whitehorse.
In an interview with Canadian Press, Meili mentioned that, on his days off, Wood travelled to Winnipeg Beach to visit his wife and children. He also had children living in Australia.
In the 1980’s, Wood had a job in Australia flying to various lighthouses around the country. Mr. Wood was working with the Australian government’s Antarctic program at the Davis Research Station, a permanent Australian base in Antarctica.
On the night of Monday, January 11th, David Wood was piloting one of two helicopters that flew to a depot on the West Ice Shelf located about 100 miles away from Davis Research Station. The two helicopters were delivering fuel tanks. After sling-dropping the tanks, the helicopters landed to pick up the equipment the pilots have been using.
Immediately after exiting the helicopter, Wood fell into a 65 foot deep ice crevasse.
Wood was at the bottom of the crevasse for about three hours, until a search-and-rescue team found him and hauled him up. He was then flown to the Davis Station. Mr. Wood died of his injuries the next day.
Wood previously worked in Antarctica in 1993, 2014 and 2015. He said he kept returning because of the people.
Arden Meyer, general manager of Trans North Helicopters in Whitehorse, said Wood was well-known and well-liked.
“Dave will certainly be missed in the Yukon and in our industry.”