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Stranded Antarctic Ship Waits for Helicopter Rescue

  • VOA News

The crew of a Russian research ship stuck in the remote Antarctic ice will have to be rescued by helicopter after several attempts to reach the stranded vessel by boat have failed.

Seventy-four scientists, tourists and crew members are on board the MV Akademik Shokalskiy, which has been stuck in an ice flow near the South Pole since Christmas Eve.

Icebreakers from France, China and Australia have been unable to reach the vessel. In the latest try, the Australian Aurora Australis had to turn back due to strong winds and snow.

Australian and Russian officials said Tuesday that once the weather clears, a helicopter on board the Chinese icebreaker Snow Dragon will try to evacuate the crew in groups of 12.

Passengers say they are trying to remain in good spirits, and are preparing for New Year's Day celebrations on board the ship, which has weeks of supplies and is in no danger of sinking.

Most of the 22-member Russian crew are expected to stay behind and wait for the ice to break up naturally.

The Russian ship, which left New Zealand on November 28, was trying to recreate Australian explorer Douglas Mawson's century-old voyage to Antarctica.
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