January 2, 2014 By The Associated Press
Jan. 2, 2014, Canberra, Aus. - A helicopter rescued all 52 passengers from a research ship that has been trapped in Antarctic ice since Christmas Eve after weather conditions finally cleared enough for the operation Thursday.
The Chinese helicopter carried the scientists and tourists from the
Russian ship MV Akademik Shokalskiy in groups of 12 to an Australian
icebreaker, said the Australian Maritime Safety Authority's Rescue
Coordination Centre, which oversaw the rescue. The Aurora Australis will
now take the passengers to the Australian island state of Tasmania, a
journey expected to last two weeks.
"I think everyone is relieved and excited to be going on to the
Australian icebreaker and then home," expedition leader Chris Turney
told The Associated Press by satellite phone from the Antarctic.
All 22 crew members stayed with the icebound vessel, which is not in
danger of sinking and has weeks' worth of supplies on board. They will
wait until the ice that surrounds the ship breaks up.