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Icebound ship in Antarctica edges closer to rescue

December 27, 2013 12:00:00 AM PST
A group of scientists and tourists on a ship that got trapped in thick Antarctic ice may soon be rescued.

The Russian Polar expedition ship got stuck in the ice on Christmas Eve. It left from New Zealand on Nov. 28.

One of three ice breaking rescue ships -- a Chinese icebreaker named the Snow Dragon -- was getting closer on Friday, but it was not clear how long it will take to get to the stranded ship due to the thickness of the ice.

The Russian ship MV Akademik Shokalskiy got stuck after a blizzard's whipping winds pushed the sea ice around it. The trapped ship is not in danger of sinking, and there are plenty of supplies for the 74 scientists, tourists and crew on board. They are able to communicate through the Internet.

"We have wind speeds on average of 50 kilometers an hour, reaching in excess of 70 kilometers an hour. The vessel hasn't moved for the last two days, and we are surrounded by sea ice," expedition leader Chris Turney said in a YouTube video.

The expedition leader says morale aboard the ship is very good and once freed from the ice, they plan to continue their trip to Antarctica.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.


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