Kenn Borek Air pilots to attempt another daring Antarctic rescue mission

A Kenn Borek Air Ltd. DeHavilland Canada DHC-6 Twin Otter operating in Antarctica. Photo by Kenn Borek Air Ltd.

CALGARY, A.B. – A pair of bush planes are on their way to Antarctica for a mid-winter rescue mission for only the third time ever, and have a connection to the BC Peace Region.

The CBC is reporting that the two DeHavilland Canada DHC-6 Twin Otters are owned by Calgary-based Kenn Borek Air. The aircraft were dispatched last Tuesday to the USA’s Amundsen-Scott Base at the South Pole to rescue a Lockheed Martin worker who is in medical distress. There is also a possibility that a second patient may also be flown out of the station once the aircraft arrives.


The planes have made it to the British Antarctic Survey station at Rothera on the Antarctic Peninsula to wait for favourable weather in order to complete their mission. One plane will stay at the British station, while the other will travel the 2,400 kilometres to the South Pole.

Flights to the station are usually not planned during northern summer months due to the harsh winters at the bottom of the world. In the 60 years that the Amundsen-Scott station has been operating, only two previous winter rescue missions have occurred in 2001 and 2003. Both of those missions were flown by Kenn Borek Air Twin Otters.

The airline was founded by Dawson Creek entrepreneur Kenn Borek in 1969 providing air support to oil and gas exploration in Northern Canada, and has operated the legendary Twin Otters on Earth’s southern continent since 1985. In addition to the two previous rescue mission, Kenn Borek aircraft have also supported an aircraft salvage mission in 2009, and were also chartered by the BBC for filming the documentary Frozen Planet in 2011.

With files from the CBC: