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Rescue Mission Continues For Ship Stuck In Antarctica Glacier

Just how 74 people trapped on a Russian ship in Antarctica will be rescued will be answeredwithin the next 48 hours. If the Chinese or Australian ice-breaker will not reach the ship, then the people on board the “Shokalskiy" trying to survive for the sixth day, in minus 15 degrees yet, will be evacuated by helicopter.

Dec 29, 2013, 08:00PM | Jonathan Benedek

 

Passengers on board the Russian research vessel of "Akademik Skokalskiy" that is stuck on a glacier in Antarctica since last Tuesday, are still waiting to be rescued. Within the next 48 hours, a decision will be made on whether to extract the passengers by using ice-breaking ships or instead by helicopters. Staff and tourists on board received notice today that only if the Chinese and Australian ice-breaking ships are unable to reach the ship within the next 48 hours, then the 74 staff members, researchers and tourists will be rescued by helicopters.

 

Fifty of the passengers on board the Russian research ship comprise of scientists and tourists, while the remaining 24 are crew members. Last week, the ship got stuck in the glacier named Cape de la Motte, on the eastern side of Antarctica and a little less than three thousand miles away from the nearest town. Since Christmas, ice storms have caused the ship to get stuck and also prevented the attempted rescue by the Chinese icebreaker ship called the "Chinese Dragon."

 

Falling victim to misfortune

On Friday, the Chinese rescue ship came within sight of the Russian ship stuck, but to its misfortune as well, got stuck too. "We now depend on the Australian ship. We hope they will come. They are very experienced in such operations. Their ship is like a bathtub with a motor in the middle. It can easily cut the ice," said members of the crew.

 

The Australian ship is within 8 to12 hours of the Russian ship. Even if the Australian ship ends up reaching the Russian ship, the rescue mission will probably still be delayed due to the adverse weather conditions.

 

The international research team on the research vessel sought to examine the effects of climate change on the continent, and now in a sense of irony, any warming of the climate would be helpful for at least just one day in helping them get rescued. Alex Mortimer, one of the oldest Antarctic researchers that has visited the continent more than one hundred times, told the British Guardian this morning that he was not surprised the ship got stuck this time of year. “They just fell victim to a storm,” Mortimer said. “It's unfortunate, these ice storms.  It reminds us of the power of nature in these locations."

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