Icebergs luring New Zealand air tourists

DUNEDIN, New Zealand, Nov. 21 (UPI) -- A group of icebergs that drifted into New Zealand waters from Antarctica has become a magnet for helicopter tourism.

The bergs have increased the number of flights out of Dunedin in the southernmost part of the South Island that additional air traffic controllers have been sent there, TVNZ reported.


Andrew Reid, a Christchurch helicopter pilot, landed on one iceberg estimated to be more than half a mile in length.

"We didn't really get a sense of how big it was until we actually landed on it. Guys got out with their homemade crampons on and started to walk around," Reid said.

Operators of helicopter charter services in more northerly towns are waiting for the bergs to come within range. In Dunedin, sightseeing trips to the bergs are going for $500 a seat.

Wolfgang Rack, a lecturer at the University of Canterbury, told the Wellington Dominion Post that the icebergs probably broke off from the Antarctic 6 to 8 years ago and have been drifting north since.

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