Thick ice delaying Chinese icebreaker in rescue attempt of Russian vessel

By Kyle Johnson,

The Chinese Icebreaker, Xue Long (Snow Dragon) has been delayed due to poor weather and ice conditions as it attempted to reach the stranded Russian polar expedition vessel, which has been stuck in Antarctic ice.

Captain Wang Jiangzhong said, "Right now we are waiting for winds to blow ice away so we can move closer," reports CNN. "The current ice condition is exceeding our capabilities to break through further."

The distance between the two ships at the moment is slightly less than seven nautical miles and the icebreaker is equipped with a helicopter in case there is an emergency aboard the Russian ship. Wang said that they remain in constant contact with the stranded vessel while they are delayed.

Two other icebreakers, the Aurora Australis and Astrolabe, were on their way to provide assistance as well due to the Chinese icebreaker's delays.

Though the ships are struggling to reach the Russian vessel, which has been stuck since Christmas Day, according to Fox News, those aboard the ship are safe. The vessel isn't at risk to sink and contains enough food and supplies to keep the crew in good condition while a rescue attempt is figured out.

The expedition leader, Chris Turney, aboard the ship noted that "Morale is really good" between the 74 people on the ship.

The MV Akademik Shokalskiy is currently attempting to follow the same path that Australian explorer Douglas Mawson did about 100 years ago.


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