Canada
Antarctic plane crash victim had 'passion'

Memorial held in Antarctica for three Canadians killed in plane crash last week.

Credits: QMI AGENCY

BILL KAUFMANN | QMI AGENCY

CALGARY -- One of the victims of last week's fatal crash of a Calgary-based aircraft in Antarctica is being remember by his family as a hard-working man with a passion for the frozen continent.

Calgary native Mike Denton, 25, was with pilot Bob Heath and passenger Perry Andersen when their Kenn Borek Air Twin Otter crashed in the Queen Alexandra mountain range in Antarctica on Jan. 22.

A statement released by his family Thursday thanks well-wishers for their support and describes five-year pilot Denton as a man who'll be "sorely missed.

"He was thoughtful, honest, conscientious, hardworking and had a playful sense of humour," it read.

"The family of Mike Denton would like to express sincere gratitude for the support, kind words and prayers that have been received from famly, friends and from people throughout Calgary, Alberta, across the country and indeed, around the world."

The family also extended their condolences to the families of the other two men, who perished on a flight from the South Pole to an Italian research station at Terra Nova Bay.

And they expressed only gratitude to the company that employed the men when they were killed and for those who risked their lives trying to rescuing them.

"We would like to thank Kenn Borek Air for their constant and open communication during the search for the aircraft, and all those involved in the international search and rescue effort."

Denton married last September and was due to return home a few day after the fatal crash.

But he was no stranger to flying in remote areas, having first travelled to Antarctica in 2009 on a University of Alberta field trip.

He'd co-piloted a Twin Otter from Panama to Canada and with Kenn Borek Air, flew extensively in Canada's North.

"Mike loved airplanes and knew he wanted to be a pilot from a young age," his family said.

"Mike also had a passion for Antarctica."

As he developed his flying skills, Denton threw himself into photography, capturing images of aircraft and the landscapes they whisked him to, said his loved ones.

The arrival of winter weather in Antarctica has delayed the recovery of the three men's bodies until October.

But federal transportation officials are reviewing the contents of a cockpit voice recorder that was recovered from the plane's wreckage last weekend.

A private memorial for Denton will be held at Friday at 2 p.m. at Christ Church Elbow Park, 3602 8th St S.W.

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