Quantcast

All Passengers Rescued from Stuck Ship in Antarctica - Valley News Live - KVLY/KXJB - Fargo/Grand Forks

All Passengers Rescued from Stuck Ship in Antarctica

Posted: Updated:

USA TODAY — A helicopter rescued all 52 passengers from a research ship that has been trapped in Antarctic ice since Christmas Eve after weather conditions finally cleared enough for the operation Thursday.

A helicopter carried the scientists and tourists from the Russian ship MV Akademik Shokalski in groups of 12 to a Australian icebreaker, said the Australian Maritime Safety Authority's Rescue Coordination Centre, which oversaw the rescue. The Aurora Australis will now take the passengers to the Australian island state of Tasmania, a journey expected to last two weeks. "I think everyone is relieved and excited to be going on to the Australian icebreaker and then home," expedition leader Chris Turney told The Associated Press by satellite phone from the Antarctic.

All 22 crew members stayed with their icebound vessel, which is not in danger of sinking and has weeks' worth of supplies on board. They will wait until the ice that has paralyzed the ship breaks up.

The eagerly anticipated rescue came after days of failed attempts to reach the vessel. Blinding snow, strong winds, fog and thick sea ice forced rescuers to turn back time and again.

Three icebreakers were dispatched to try and crack their way through the ice surrounding the ship, but all failed. The Aurora came within 20 kilometers (12 miles) of the ship Monday, but fierce winds and snow forced it to retreat to open water.

On Thursday, it appeared the weather had thwarted yet another rescue attempt. The helicopter was originally going to airlift the passengers to a Chinese icebreaker, the Snow Dragon, with a barge then ferrying them to the Aurora. But sea ice prevented the barge from reaching the Snow Dragon, and the maritime authority said the operation would have to be delayed.

A last-minute change in plans allowed the rescue to go ahead. The passengers were instead flown to an ice floe next to the Aurora and then taken by a small boat to the Australian ship, Turney said.

The Akademik Shokalskiy, which left New Zealand on Nov. 28, got stuck 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 scientific team on board had been recreating Australian explorer Douglas Mawson's 1911 to 1913 voyage to Antarctica.

Turney had hoped to continue the trip if an icebreaker managed to free the ship. Despite his disappointment over the expedition being cut short, he said his spirits remained high. "I'm a bit sad it's ended this way," he said. "But we got lots and lots of great science done."

  • Local NewsMore>>

  • DEVELOPING: Police Look Into New Surveillance Video From West Acres Assault

    DEVELOPING: Police Look Into New Surveillance Video From West Acres Assault

    Fargo police continue to search for a man who assaulted a woman outside of West Acres Shopping center last Thursday.  On Monday, the Fargo Police Department released a surveillance photo from the parking lot outside of JCPenny.
    Fargo police continue to search for a man who assaulted a woman outside of West Acres Shopping center last Thursday.  On Monday, the Fargo Police Department released a surveillance photo from the parking lot outside of JCPenny.
  • We scope out Grand Forks in this week's Restaurant Report Card

    We scope out Grand Forks in this week's Restaurant Report Card

    It's Tuesday and that means it's time for our weekly restaurant report. This week we focused on Grand Forks, where we scoped out violations at a grocery store and a popular chain restaurant.
    It's Tuesday and that means it's time for our weekly restaurant report. This week we focused on Grand Forks, where we scoped out violations at a grocery store and a popular chain restaurant.
  • Fargo Schools Want Your Input

    Fargo Schools Want Your Input

    The Fargo School District is planning for the future and they need your help. The District is seeking the input of students, teachers, parents and the community through an online survey.
    The Fargo School District is planning for the future and they need your help. The District is seeking the input of students, teachers, parents and the community through an online survey.
Powered by WorldNow
Powered by 

WorldNowAll content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 WorldNow and Valley News Live. All Rights Reserved.
For more information on this site, please read our Privacy Policy and Terms of Service.