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Trapped Chinese icebreaker to attempt breakout

Published on Jan 7, 2014 11:01 AM
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This photo released by the Australian Antarctic Division on Jan 2, 2014, shows the Chinese Antarctic vessel Xue Long (centre) from the bridge of the Aurora Australis ship off Antarctica, both in the frozen waters to help rescue a nearby Russian research ship (not pictured). The Chinese ship that helped rescue passengers from a Russian vessel stranded in Antarctica only to get stuck in the ice itself may soon have a shot at breaking free, state media reported on Tuesday. -- FILE PHOTO: AFP 

BEIJING (AFP) - A Chinese ship that helped rescue passengers from a Russian vessel stranded in Antarctica only to get stuck in the ice itself may soon have a shot at breaking free, state media reported on Tuesday.

A westerly wind expected to pick up before Wednesday could give the Xue Long, or Snow Dragon, its best chance of escaping the heavy ice in which it has been trapped since last Friday, the China Daily newspaper reported.

"The window for the vessel to sail out is quite small, which means Xue Long needs to be ready at any moment before Wednesday," Mr Zhang Lin, a Beijing-based meteorologist involved in the rescue effort, told the newspaper.

The westerly wind is expected to help push away some of the heavy ice surrounding the Chinese research vessel, according to the official Xinhua news agency, which noted that the floes are three times thicker than the ship's ice-breaking capacity.

 
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