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52 passengers trapped in Antarctica to be rescued

Antarctica Icebound Ship
CANBERRA, Australia (AP) - Passengers on board a research ship that has been trapped in Antarctic ice for more than a week are expected to be rescued by helicopter on Thursday after three icebreakers failed to reach the paralyzed vessel, officials said.

The Australian Maritime Safety Authority's (AMSA) Rescue Coordination Centre, which is handling the operation, said early Thursday that weather conditions had improved in the area since Wednesday and rescue flights were likely to commence shortly.

"Wind in the area is now down to 10 knots (19 kmh) and visibility has improved. Weather conditions are expected to remain favorable over the next 36 hours," the center said in a statement.

The 74 scientists, tourists and crew on the Russian ship MV Akademik Shokalskiy, which has been stuck since Christmas Eve, had been hoping the Australian icebreaker Aurora Australis would be able to crack through the thick ice and allow them to continue on their way. The Aurora came within 20 kilometers (12 miles) of the ship Monday, but fierce winds and snow forced it to retreat to open water.

The helicopter on board the Chinese-flagged vessel Snow Dragon will be used to rescue 52 scientists and tourists, a dozen at a time, over five hours. All 22 crew members are expected to stay with their icebound vessel, which is not in danger.

The center said the passengers will be flown 11 kilometers (7 miles) to the Chinese ship, from where they will be transported 4 kilometers (2 miles) by barge to the Australian icebreaker.

The Snow Dragon, which is waiting with the Aurora at the edge of the ice pack, was also unable to crack through the ice, as was France's L'Astrolabe.

The Akademik Shokalskiy, which left New Zealand on Nov. 28, got stuck Christmas Eve after a blizzard pushed the sea ice around the ship, freezing it in place about 2,700 kilometers (1,700 miles) south of Hobart, Tasmania. The ship isn't in danger of sinking and has weeks' worth of supplies on board, but it cannot move.

The scientific team on board had been recreating Australian explorer Douglas Mawson's 1911 to 1913 voyage to Antarctica. Expedition leader Chris Turney had hoped to continue the trip if an icebreaker managed to free the ship.

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fm1alpine January 01 2014 at 6:50 PM

how's that global warming working out?

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1 reply
merstockgto fm1alpine January 01 2014 at 9:01 PM

Another one in denial

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1 reply
THE GREAT ONE merstockgto January 01 2014 at 9:06 PM

No you are as there has been NO warming for 17 years now and a slight cooling for a decade

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jimmy.zucco January 01 2014 at 6:52 PM

WHY DON'T THEY JUST WAIT FOR GLOBAL WARMING TO MELT THEM OUT???

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mrck922 January 01 2014 at 7:19 PM

Not one of the main stream media outlets has made a peep about the so called global warming that was supposed to have melted all this ice. Maybe these scientists should just wait until that happens (they say it will happen soon). Or maybe we should all start cranking up our V-8 engines and coal plants!

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CPLJACK January 01 2014 at 7:25 PM

the trip they will never forget!! and they all look great God bless them.

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jlbusm January 01 2014 at 7:31 PM

What ever happened to global warming oh thats wright its called climate change now

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1 reply
merstockgto jlbusm January 01 2014 at 9:00 PM

With the way you spell it is obvious you do not know what you are talking about.

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1 reply
smadgecsm merstockgto January 01 2014 at 9:21 PM

It is hilarious when someone attacks the messenger! I think the viewers can understand jlbusm message and intent..............

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quantumcarl January 01 2014 at 8:39 PM

I see a lot of negative feedback on this article! My heart goes out to the captain of the vessel, crew and passengers on board, it is a trying time for all on board! Try being stranded on board a submarine at the bottom of the ocean (

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redmer1 January 01 2014 at 9:22 PM

In Michigan...lot's of snow, ice...looks like a global ice age setting in. I had just got done embracing global warming hoping to do some water skiing in January. Well we're all running generators because of ice and snow taking our our electricity. Perhaps all of the generators running will hasten the global warming and we can avoid losing our utilities next year. We can only hope and pray that Al Gore and other "scientists" are correct and that we can help move global warming along simply by making carbon contributions..it all seems to easy!

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Motorsports January 01 2014 at 7:01 PM

Strange a ship of scientists studying “GLOBAL WARMING” stuck in the ice! Who would think?

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sharpsguy January 01 2014 at 7:47 PM

Yup! "Global Warming!" Seven+ FEET of ice. Uh huh. Oh, hey, Al Gore? Maybe you ought to sell off those hundreds of millions of dollars you invested in "Alternative Energy" corporations, hmmmm? The Antarctic ice floe is at never before levels, and it is SUMMER down there!

Here in Southwest Michigan, we had our first sticking snow more than a week before Thanksgiving, and it never completely melted. Oh yeah, "GLOBAL WARMING!" Uh huh.

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1 reply
ak841 sharpsguy January 01 2014 at 7:59 PM

LAST year was the warmest on record.

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2 replies
jimmy.zucco ak841 January 01 2014 at 9:00 PM

& THE LAST 12 YEARS THE AVERAGE TEMP HAS DROPPED!!

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THE GREAT ONE ak841 January 01 2014 at 9:05 PM

No it was NOT it was one of the 10 warmest and that was only possible after adjusting the data

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bar57jmb75 January 01 2014 at 9:33 PM

I see all the gullible global warming deniers out in force. You know we really need them to start a club like the flat earth society because I cannot see the curvature of the earth, so whatever a major corporation tells me must be true so I can protect my profits......oh yea I forgot about the last ice age since that was 15,000 years ago but you uneducated red staters only believe in 6000 right? and the Flintstones was a documentary and not a cartoon......please raise your level of intelligence before showing your absolute ignorance....please?

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