Australia is coordinating the search for a French helicopter missing in Antarctica with four people aboard, news reports said on Friday.

The chopper, which took off from a ship that supplies the Antarctic research station from Australia, disappeared in bad weather after sending a distress signal.

Australian Maritime Safety Authority spokeswoman Tracey Jiggins told national broadcaster ABC that bad weather was hampering the rescue effort.

“The last tracking we had of the helicopter was that it was flying low and slow, so we’re hopeful the bad weather conditions have just meant the helicopter could no longer fly in those conditions and has put down itself,” she said.

“But, as I said, until we get confirmation through communications with the vessel we won’t actually know what condition those people might be in.”

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