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52 passengers trapped in Antarctica to be rescued

  • Antarctica-Icebound-Ship-8

    Passengers from the Russian ship MV Akademik Shokalskiy link arms and stamp out a helicopter landing site on the ice near the trapped ship 1,500 nautical miles south of Hobart, Australia.

    <ASSOCIATED PRESS

  • Antarctica-Icebound-Ship-9

    In this Tuesday, Dec. 31, 2013 image provided by Australasian Antarctic Expedition/Footloose Fotography, passengers from the Russian ship MV Akademik Shokalskiy trapped in the ice 1,500 nautical miles south of Hobart, Australia, walk around the ice. Passengers on board a research ship that has been trapped in Antarctic ice for a week are expected to be rescued by helicopter, after three icebreakers failed to reach the paralyzed vessel, officials said Tuesday. (AP Photo/Australasian Antarctic Expedition/Footloose Fotography, Andrew Peacock) EDITORIAL USE ONLY

    <ASSOCIATED PRESS

Antarctica-Icebound-Ship-8

Passengers from the Russian ship MV Akademik Shokalskiy link arms and stamp out a helicopter landing site on the ice near the trapped ship 1,500 nautical miles south of Hobart, Australia.

ASSOCIATED PRESS Enlarge

CANBERRA — 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 within hours.

The Australian Maritime Safety Authority’s Rescue Coordination Centre said early Thursday that weather conditions had improved in the area since Wednesday and rescue operations were likely to commence shortly.

The 74 scientists, tourists and crew are on the Russian ship MV Akademik Shokalskiy, which has been stuck since Christmas Eve.

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

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