The passengers which were trapped on an icebound Russian research ship in the Antarctic for more than a week are rescued now. Previously it was difficult to get them out due to severe weather conditions. Once the weather finally cleared, the rescue operation came in action. All the 52 passengers were plucked by a Chinese helicopter from the ice a dozen at a time.
To honor the 100th anniversary of an Antarctic journey led by famous Australian explorer Douglas Mawson, the Russian ship, Akademik Shokalskiy, started from New Zealand on 28th November. Then it got stuck when a snowstorm pushed the sea ice around the ship on December 24th, freezing it in place near south of Hobart, Tasmania.
The helicopter carried the tourists and scientists from the ship to an Australian icebreaker. The Australian Maritime Safety Authority’s Rescue Coordination Centre, which oversaw the rescue, said that rescue came after days of unsuccessful attempts to reach the vessel.
Passengers, commonly Australians and New Zealanders, will possibly arrive in Australia’s southern island state of Tasmania around mid-January. The 22 crew members of the Akademik Shokalskiy will stay on board until the ice breaks up and frees the ship.
“I think everyone is relieved and excited to be going on to the Australian icebreaker and then home,” Chris Turney who led the private expedition told The Associated Press by satellite phone from the Antarctic.
Jason Mundy, Australian Antarctic Division Acting Director who is on board the ice breaker Aurora Australis, said, “The passengers seem very glad to now be with us and they are settling in to their new accommodation.”