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Rescued Antarctic scientists back on dry land

Published on Jan 22, 2014 2:50 PM
 
This handout image released by the Centre of Excellence for Climate System Science at the University of New South Wales taken on Dec 27, 2013 shows the ship MV Akademik Shokalskiy trapped in the ice at sea off Antarctica. Scientists whose Antarctic expedition became trapped in sea ice finally returned to dry land on Wednesday, Jan 22, 2014, apologising for the disruption and facing questions over who will pay for the international rescue mission. -- FILE PHOTO: AFP / ANDREW PEACOCK

SYDNEY (AFP) - Scientists whose Antarctic expedition became trapped in sea ice finally returned to dry land on Wednesday, apologising for the disruption and facing questions over who will pay for the international rescue mission.

The scientists were among the 52 passengers plucked by helicopter from their stranded Russian ship, the Akademik Shokalskiy, on Jan 2 after Chinese and Australian icebreakers failed to cut through the ice to rescue them.

A helicopter from the Chinese ship transferred them to the Australian ship the Aurora Australis, which docked in Hobart on Wednesday.

The rescue, estimated to have cost up to A$2.4 million (S$2.7 million), prompted harsh criticism from some quarters because it diverted resources from other scientific programmes in Antarctica's Southern Hemisphere summer.

 
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