US scientist dies in snowmobile plunge in Antarctica

Dr Gordon Hamilton (right) working on the Helheim glacier in Greenland, Aug 23, 2010.
Dr Gordon Hamilton (right) working on the Helheim glacier in Greenland, Aug 23, 2010. PHOTO: NYTIMES

(REUTERS) - A US-based scientist was killed in Antarctica when the snowmobile he was driving plunged into a crevasse on Saturday (Oct 22), the US National Science Foundation (NSF) said in a statement on Monday (Oct 24).

Dr Gordon Hamilton, 50, a University of Maine professor in the School of Earth and Climate Sciences, and a researcher with the Climate Change Institute, fell 100 feet (30.5m) into the crevasse, the NSF statement said.

Dr Hamilton's body has been recovered and US Antarctic Programme personnel have opened an investigation into his death.

Dr Hamilton was part of a team camped in a heavily crevassed area known as the Shear Zone, around 40km south of McMurdo Station, the largest of the three US research stations in Antarctica.

British explorer Henry Worsley died earlier this year of exhaustion and dehydration as he tried to cross Antarctica unaided.