Beijing: Two pilots aboard a Chinese polar exploration helicopter survived miraculously after their chopper lost control and crashed into an iceberg in the Antarctica.

Both the crew members survived the crash, although one of them was slightly injured, the Chinese State Oceanic Administration (SOA) said.

The helicopter's pilot lost control of the craft while flying back to the polar polar survey ship Snow Dragon after bringing supplies to China's Zhongshan research station, it said.

The helicopter, dubbed Snow Eagle, crashed into an iceberg after an attempt at a forced landing failed, it said.

The helicopter's crew members were taken to the Snow Dragon for treatment shortly after the accident, the statement added.

The Ka-32 helicopter, purchased from Russia in December 2008, began to serve in Chinese Antarctic expeditions in 2009 and was taking part in its third mission when the crash occurred.

The cause of the accident is under investigation and he expedition has been temporarily halted in order to allow researchers to collect evidence, the SAO statement said.

It was the third time for Snow Eagle to serve in a scientific expedition in the Antarctica since it was commissioned in 2009, said Qu Tanzhou, director of the SOA's office in charge of polar exploration.

According to Qu, the SOA has ordered the expedition to suspend all scientific work and make an all-out effort to rescue the crashed helicopter, which is about six kilometers away from the survey ship.

"It's summer in Antarctica and the melting ice and complicated terrain at the crash site make the rescue work more and more dangerous," Qu said.

"The main job for the expedition now is to salvage the helicopter wreck as soon as possible and minimise the accident's impact in Antarctica," he said.

(Agencies)