Stranded Antarctic Ship Passengers To Be Rescued By Chinese Helicopter

This will be the fourth rescue attempt in a week to help passengers aboard the Russian vessel

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After a third failed attempt to rescue passengers aboard a Russian ship that’s been trapped for a week in Antarctica, passengers will now be evacuated by a Chinese helicopter.

The Russian foreign ministry released a statement on Monday saying “A decision has been reached to evacuate 52 passengers and four crew members by helicopter from China’s Xue Long ship, should the weather allow,” AFP reports. There are 74 passengers in total aboard the ship.

Adverse weather conditions halted the third rescue attempt, this time by Australian icebreaker the Aurora Australis, from reaching the Russian vessel, MV Akademik Shokalskiy, on Monday. The Australian Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA) said in a statement Monday that the area where the Russian vessel is currently trapped in ice “is currently experiencing winds of up to 30 knots and snow showers.”

The Russian vessel embarked on its journey from New Zealand on Nov. 28 to commemorate the 100th anniversary of an Antarctic journey made by Australian explorer, Douglas Mawson. Despite being trapped in an ice field since Dec. 24, the scientists, tourists, journalists and crew aboard the ship have remained in high spirits, and some have continued to tweet using the hashtag #spiritofmawson.