Icebreaker Ship Trying To Rescue A Russian Ship Trapped In Antarctica Now Stuck In Ice

Xue Long icebreaker ChinaWikimedia CommonsDrift ice camp in the middle of the Arctic Ocean as seen from the deck of icebreaker Xue Long, 2011.

A Chinese icebreaker ship trying to reach a stranded Russian vessel carrying 74 people off Antarctica has gotten itself stuck in ice roughly six nautical miles short, CNN reports.

The crew of the Xue Long, or Snow Dragon, now hopes a French icebreaker in the area will come to the ship’s aid.

From CNN:

But it’s likely the French vessel Astrolabe will also be slowed by the polar cap’s extreme frigidity, Zhu said.

Those two icebreakers — plus a third, from Australia — were battling the planet’s coldest environment in trying to reach the stranded Russian ship MV Akademik Shokalskiy, whose 74 researchers, crew and tourists remained in good condition despite being at a frozen standstill since Monday.

“It’s quite windy and there could be some sort of blizzard conditions,” Andrea Hayward-Maher told the Australian Broadcasting Corporation on Wednesday, according to AFP. “Weather conditions, if they become difficult, could hinder the options that we have. But hopefully those icebreaking vessels will be able to get there as soon as they possibly can to render assistance.”

The Chinese ship has supplies and a helicopter on board in case of an emergency, Time reports. It was attempting to rescue the MV Akademik Shokalskiy, a Russian expedition of scientists and tourists recreating the historic voyage of Sir Douglas Mawson, an explorer who ventured to Antarctica in 1911.

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