Chinese Icebreaker Delayed in Antarctic Ship Rescue

May need help from other rescue missions en route to the region

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A Chinese icebreaker headed to the Antarctic region to rescue a vessel stalled Friday due to bad weather and icy conditions.

The ship Xue Long, which means Snow Dragon in English, was just shy of seven miles from the stranded Russian ship when it was forced to stop on Friday, CNN reports. The MV Akademik Shokalskiy has been stuck in ice since Monday and sent a satellite distress signal for help on Christmas. Capt. Wang Jiangzhong said it may be two more days before the Chinese government ship reaches the vessel.

The captain also said that should conditions worsen, the crew may need help from one of three icebreakers en route to help the Russian vessel, but the ship has a helicopter on board for medical emergencies. Australia’s Aurora Australis and the French ship Astrolabe are also headed to rescue the 74 passengers and crew members on board the Russian vessel.

The  MV Akademik Shokalskiy was 15 days into the second leg of a climate change research expedition when it wedged into ice of up to 10 feet. Expedition leader Chris Turney said everyone on board remains safe.