An Antarctica ship trapped in ice will have to remain there a little longer after the icebreaker sent to break it free also became stranded.
The Chinese icebreaker Xue Long, or Snow Dragon, was approaching a Russian vessel through heavy ice when it reached a standstill. Officials said the icebreaker may be stopped but will be able to get back out.
“We have been waiting for better weather and ice conditions since last night,” Zhao Yanping, second captain of the Xue Long, told CNN. “Xue Long is not moving forward but we’re not stuck.”
The captain of the Snow Dragon said the Antarctica icebreaker ship will have to wait out weather conditions before it can move forward.
“Right now we are waiting for winds to blow ice away so we can move closer,” said Capt. Wang Jiangzhong. “The current ice condition is exceeding our capabilities to break through further.”
A second icebreaker ship is being sent to Antarctica to assist the two vessels.
The vessels are trying to reach the Russian ship MV Akademik Shokalskiy, which is carrying 74 researchers, crew, and tourists. The occupants of the Russian Antarctica ship are said to be in good condition despite being stuck for more than five days.
“The vessel is fine, it’s safe and everyone on board is very well,” expedition leader Chris Turney, a professor of climate change at University of New South Wales in Australia told CNN. “Morale is really high.”
Turney is leading a mission to retrace the footsteps of Australian geologist Douglas Mawson, who explored the Antarctic 100 years ago.
Another Antarctica ship was stranded earlier this year, trapping 97 fisherman aboard the Chinese Kai Xin. A nearby Norwegian factory trawler was able to pick up the workers from the trapped ship and bring them to safety.