On December 12, 1999, at 1523 local time (0223 universal coordinated time, utc), a deHavilland DH-6, Canadian registration C-GKBG, owned by Ken Borek Air, Calgary, Alberta, Canada, and operated for the U.S. National Science Foundation, crashed during takeoff at outlying Antarctic site, AGO-6 (69.30S, 130.017E). The airplane was destroyed in the crash. There was no fire. Two personnel were on board, the captain sustained no injuries and the first officer sustained minor injuries. Day visual meteorological conditions prevailed at the time of the crash. It is not known whether a flight plan was filed on the flight operated in Antarctica, under the Convention on Civil Air Regulations (ICAO).

The investigation has been assisted substantially, on site, by the Safety Officer for the National Science Foundation, Mr. Harry Mahar. He reports that the airplane had departed Williams Field Skiway near McMurdo Station (77.88S / 167.12E), at 0923 local time, December 12 (2023 utc, December 11), for the purpose of ferrying passengers and equipment form McMurdo Station to two research sites, Midpoint Camp (75.32S, 145.49E) and AGO-6, the crash site. The flight landed at Midpoint-C at 1130 local time, December 12, and at AGO-6 at 1448 local time, where two passengers and 900 pounds of equipment were unloaded. The airplane was refueled at both sites.

The airplane was equipped with skies for operation on snow. Midpoint-C was an established seasonal research camp with a groomed ski-way. AGO-6 was a remote, unstaffed research site, that was resupplied each summer season. The two disembarked passengers were to groom the snow surface at AGO-6, to prepare for Lockheed LC-130 resupply flights to the site. During the attempted takeoff from AGO-6, a ski tip reportedly caught in the snow, a wing then dipped, impacting with the snow and fracturing away from the airframe. The remainder of the airframe rotated in yaw and came to a stop.

The airplane was operated and maintained for the U.S. National Science Foundation by Ken Borek Air, Canada. Both pilots hold Canadian aviation certifications. In accordance with the provisions of ICAO, Annex 13, and by agreement between the Transportation Safety Board, Canada, and the NTSB, TSB has assumed charge of the investigation.

The U.S. Accredited Representative is Thomas R. Conroy, Senior Air Safety Investigator, NTSB, AS-20, Washington, D.C. 20594, tel. (202) 314-6314 / -6329.

For further information, contact the Investigator-in-Charge:

Mr. Don Borden TSB Canada Edmonton, Alberta tel. (780) 495-2010 / -2079

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