The Antarctica ship rescue of the Akademik Shokalskiy had some good news at last.
As previously reported by The Inquisitr, at first the Antarctica ship news wasn’t good at all since a Chinese icebreaker became trapped in the ice, as well.
But the good news is that a second icebreaker ship called the Aurora Australis came within 28 nautical miles of the stranded vessel before having to stop in its current position due to snow showers. The Snow Dragon icebreaker came within seven miles of the Akademik Shokalskiy, but managed to retreat and will remain in the area in case its help is needed.
People were worried about the Antarctica ship sinking during the long delay but reports from the 74 scientists, tourists, and crew trapped in Russian ship claim they’re not concerned and morale is high. They also have several weeks worth of supplies so even if they’re not rescued soon there’s no mortal danger to them.
In fact, they’re continuing their scientific research while they’re stuck, counting birds and taking photographs of sea life through holes drilled in the ice sheets. They even celebrated Christmas and had a Secret Santa gift exchange.
Expedition leader Christopher Turney says crack in the ice have appeared around the bow of the ship:
“We’re primarily looking to the Aurora to get us out. Hopefully there are some breaks developing in the surface from the weaker winds and sun during today.”
As of 5 PM EST, Turney said he believed the Aurora Australis could reach them within several hours, although some reports say midnight tonight is most likely. In the worst case scenario the helicopter aboard the Snow Dragon will evacuate the stranded passengers if the Australis can’t make it tonight.
The crew even has internet access and you can follow progress on the Antarctica ship rescue on both Twitter and YouTube:
— Chris Turney (@ProfChrisTurney) December 29, 2013