Europe

Bodies found in Antarctica French helicopter crash

Helicopter flies above Antarctic ice in photo released in January 2007 by the French 'Institut Polaire' Paul Emile Victor (IPEV).
Image caption Helicopters are frequently used in Antarctica to move staff and supplies to research bases

Australian rescuers searching for survivors of a French helicoper crash in Antarctica have confirmed that all four people on board died.

The helicopter crashed in poor weather carrying a pilot, mechanic and two staff from a French polar research station.

A second helicopter reached the crash site on Saturday and a doctor confirmed the deaths, rescuers said.

After seeing the wreckage, rescuers said the accident was "unsurvivable".

"They have confirmed that all four on board didn't survive the impact of the crash and the French team are currently conducting recovery operations," an Australian Maritime Safety Authority told AFP.

A distress beacon was activated late on Thursday, triggering the search, about 100km (62 miles) from France's Dumont-d'Urville research base.

The AS350 Squirrel helicopter had taken off from the supply ship L'Astrolabe, about 370km north-east of the research station.

French officials said the Australian searchers saw a wide debris field from the crash.