DUNEDIN, New Zealand, Nov. 24 (UPI) — Icebergs drifting northward from Antarctica could become a tourist attraction as they near New Zealand.
Graeme Gale, managing director of Helicopters Otago, said he might begin sightseeing flights during the coming weekend, the Otago Daily Times reported. Chartered planes could make the trip even sooner, with Phil Kean, chief pilot for Mainland Air, saying the company needs only confirmation of the icebergs’ position.
The Australian Antarctic Division reported this week the icebergs were near Macquarie Island. The division maintains a station on the island, about halfway between Antarctica and New Zealand.
Scientists believe the icebergs formed with the breakup of a 12-square-mile piece of ice calved from the Ross Ice Shelf about 10 years ago. They are becoming more numerous as they break into smaller chunks.
While the current is carrying the icebergs toward the south island of New Zealand, wind and storms could change their direction. Shipping in the area has been warned of their presence.
Copyright 2009 by United Press International