Australian Team Finds Remains of 1911 Antarctic Plane

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A team of Australian explorers on New Year’s Day came across the remains of an airplane that was abandoned in an expedition to Antarctica in 1911.

The team, which was visiting Antarctica to perform a large-scale drilling operation, happened upon the remains of the plane, which have been frozen in ice for nearly 100 years.

In an attempt to make history as the first person to fly across Antarctica, Australian Explorer Douglas Mawson flew the craft to the Antarctic ice cap in 1911, but the plane’s engine stalled in the cold. The plane was a British aircraft that was among the first airplanes ever produced. Mawson abandoned it at Cape Denison.

Teams of scientists had repeatedly attempted to recover the plane’s fuselage over the years. However, attempts were unsuccessful and it was last spotted nearly completely buried in ice in 1975.

That is until this week when a low tide, melted ice and a blue moon led to what was described as a “one-in-a-million discovery” of pieces of the plane’s fuselage floating in the water. By chance, members of the Australian team spotted the pieces and were able to identify them as belonging to Mawson’s plane.

The team plans to return the pieces to Australia for examination at the end of January.

 

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