The 52 passengers famously airlifted two days ago from their stranded Russian ship in Antarctica are breathing a sigh of relief today. Their Chinese rescuers were able to take them to an Australian ice breaker which is currently taking them home. However, the Chinese ship they were aboard, called the "Snow Dragon", has apparently met its match in these subzero ice sheets.
The entire saga began on Christmas Eve when the Russian vessel MV Akademik Shokalskiy was halfway to its destination of Mawson's Hut in Cape Denison. After the shipped got wedged in the ice (where it still remains), the passengers spent 9 days until the decision was made to airlift them to the Chinese ice breaker. Now, that ship itself is wedged in ice, but at least the passengers are heading home safely.
According to the Australian Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA), the Chinese ice breaker may have a window of time later today to break free when shifts in the tidal conditions may work in their favor. As for the rescued passengers, they are heading towards the Island of Tasmania where they are expected to arrive in less than a fortnight. Their captain expressed relief that they are safe and sound.
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