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Antarctic rescue unlikely to begin on Thursday: officials

Published on Jan 2, 2014 10:53 AM
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Ben Maddison and Ben Fisk working on Dec 31, 2013, to place a wind indicator atop an ice feature near the MV Akademik Shokalskiy (left), still stuck in the ice off East Antarctica, as the ship waits for a possible helicopter rescue. Sea ice delayed a planned helicopter evacuation of the Russian research vessel, with Australian maritime officials saying the rescue was unlikely to go ahead on Thursday as earlier planned. -- FILE PHOTO: AFP

SYDNEY (AFP) - Sea ice delayed a planned helicopter evacuation of a Russian research vessel trapped in Antarctica, with Australian maritime officials saying the rescue was unlikely to go ahead on Thursday as earlier planned.

The Australian Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA) said the operation involving the airlifting of 52 passengers from the Akademik Shokalskiy, which had been set to involve a Chinese helicopter, no longer looked possible due to the adverse conditions.

The ice was preventing a smaller vessel from the Australian icebreaker Aurora Australis from reaching Chinese icebreaker the Xue Long, which is nearer to the stranded ship.

The plan was to fly passengers to the Chinese vessel before they were transferred to the Aurora Australis by boat.

 
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