CHRISTCHURCH, NEW ZEALAND, DEC. 9 -- A U.S. research plane crashed in Antarctica today as it tried to land on a runway of packed snow, killing two Americans and injuring nine.
All 11 people aboard the ski-equipped LC130 were Americans, the U.S. Navy said. Ten, including the dead, were Navy personnel and one was a civilian.
The plane crashed about 860 miles northeast of McMurdo Station, the main U.S. base in Antarctica, said Cmdr. Bob Harler, who coordinates U.S. activities in Antarctica from Christchurch.
Navy officials in Washington said two people were killed and one was seriously injured aboard the plane, which is owned by the National Science Foundation but was flown by a Navy crew.
Navy Cmdr. Jim Mitchell told Radio New Zealand in a telephone interview from Hawaii that the eight others had minor injuries.
Spokeswoman Nancy Duncan of the Point Mugu Pacific Missile Test Center in Point Mugu, Calif., identified the dead as Lt. Cmdr. Bruce Bailey, 45, and Donald M. Beatty, 24, whose title was aviation storekeeper second class. Both men were stationed at Point Mugu.
She said Lt. Cmdr. Einar (Ernie) Corelli, 45, also from Point Mugu, was seriously injured. The Navy said Corelli was evacuated to McMurdo Station.
The Navy said the plane caught fire during the crash. It said a team of military and contractor personnel at the site helped extinguish the fire.
The plane was trying to land at the site of a similar crash of an LC130 in 1972. The National Science Foundation, working with the Navy and the Lockheed Aircraft Corp., is trying to repair the other plane so it can be flown off the frozen continent.