Thursday, January 19, 2017

The remains of Pegasus in Antarctica

The eerie picture of a huge plane half buried by snow in Antarctica is what remains from Pegasus, a Lockheed C-121J Super Constellation, operated by U.S. Navy that crash-landed on October 8th, 1970. Pegasus was on a flight from Christchurch, New Zealand to McMurdo Station, the largest research station of Antarctica with a population of over 1,200 people during summer months. McMurdo is operated by the United States and built on land claimed by New Zealand. Non of the 80 people on board the plane were hurt. 

While weather predictions were favorable when Pegasus departed Christchurch, by the time it arrived to Antarctica, visibility had deteriorated to zero as blowing snow made the white ice runway invisible. On the second attempt to land, the right main landing gear hit a snow bank and separated. Then the right wing broke off, with the airplane sliding through the snow. 

Pegasus was abandoned where it landed as it would have been impossible to be repaired on site. After the accident, the airstrip was named Pegasus Field after the C-121 that crashed nearby. Pegasus Field closed down after the last flight departed on December 8, 2016. In early 2017, it was replaced by a new airstrip serving McMurdo Station, Phoenix Airfield.


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