Antarctica Rescue Boat Now Trapped In Ice

The Chinese icebreaker sent to help a stranded Russian ship has itself become stuck

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Andrew Peacock / Reuters

The MV Akademik Shokalskiy stranded in ice in Antarctica, Dec. 29, 2013.

The Chinese rescue icebreaker that helped evacuate 52 passengers from a Russian ship stuck in the Antarctic itself became stranded Friday, Reuters reports.

The vessel, Snow Dragon, carried a helicopter that successfully ferried the group of scientists and tourists to a nearby Australian icebreaker on Thursday. But the Chinese ice-breaking ship is now stuck in place until conditions improve, according to the Australian Maritime Safety Authority.

The Chinese boat will attempt to escape the area Saturday morning, and the Australian icebreaker carrying the rescued passengers is waiting in the area “as a precautionary measure,” said the Australian authorities.

The passengers on the Australian ship, the Akademik Shokalskiy, departed from New Zealand Nov. 28 to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the Antarctic expedition led by  Australian explorer Douglas Mawson. The boat became trapped Dec. 24, about 1,500 nautical miles south of Tasmania.