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Monday, 27 January, 2003, 07:13 GMT

Britons in Antarctica helicopter crash



Two British men are awaiting rescue after their helicopter ditched in

the sea off Antarctica. The two men, who are civilians, are believed

to be sitting in an emergency dinghy. They contacted their wives on

their satellite phone to get help.


HMS Endurance, which is about 180 miles away, has launched a second

Lynx helicopter to rescue them. One had to turn back earlier because

of poor visibility.


The men's helicopter was flying from Chile to north-west Antarctica

and the Chilean authorities are in charge of the operation.


A Royal Navy spokesman said: "HMS Endurance may not be the closest

but we may be the closest with a winching helicopter."   Lynx

helicopters would need to refuel on the way to the men, he added. The HMS Endurance, an ice breaker, has been surveying uncharted

waters in Antartica.

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