01/27/2013 04:44 EST | Updated 01/28/2013 06:14 EST

Kenn Borek Crash: Community Remembers Crew Of Antarctica Plane


The aviation community along with friends and well-wishers remembered the Canadian crew that was missing in Antarctica for several days.

The wreckage of a Twin Otter aircraft was found late Friday night by two helicopters dispatched by the Rescue Coordination Centre in New Zealand and the three-member Canadian crew is believed to be dead.

It was a tragic end for those who anxiously waited for news after the plane went missing.

The pilot of the craft operated by Kenn Borek Air of Calgary has been identified by friends as Bob Heath of Inuvik, while media reports have identified a second crew member as Mike Denton, a newlywed from Calgary whose photographs of planes appear on the Kenn Borek website.

Tony Szekely was a Kenn Borek pilot and flew with Heath for years. He remembered Heath as a wonderful teacher and says he didn't expect this to happen to him, CTV reports.

"You don't think about that," he said.

"One of the best pilots on the planet! Maybe he jumped before landing. Fingers crossed and praying," said Twitter user Monctonsnowman.

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Antarctica Plane Wreckage Found

"He's a bit of a living legend up (North)," friend and fellow pilot Sebastien Seykora said earlier this week of experienced pilot Heath.

"He's been flying down there for at least a decade. If somebody had a question about how to do things, especially about going down there, he would be the guy they would ask.''

Kenn Borek Air has been in operation since 1970 and has been sending planes to Antarctica for the past 28 years.

It has been involved in numerous rescue missions including one in 2001, when its pilots and planes were involved in the daring rescue of an ailing American doctor from the Amundsen-Scott South Pole Station.

In 2009, the company was commissioned to recover an aircraft that had been involved in an accident nearly a year earlier. A 12-person Kenn Borek recovery crew spent 25 days at a remote field camp on the eastern side of the Antarctic Plateau to carry out the operation.

Officials called off efforts to recover the bodies of the three Canadians on Sunday, saying it would be unsafe to further disturb the wreckage.

"It can happen to anyone, really," said Szekely to CTV, "Aviation is unpredictable."

With files from CP