#AntarcticIce - The Guardian reports that a helicopter mission to rescue stranded passengers - including two of the paper's journalists - from a research vessel stranded by ice in Antarctica has been successful.
As previously reported on Afloat.ie, the Akademik Shokalskiy became trapped in pack ice far south of Tasmania on Christmas Eve after embarking on a private expedition retracing the route of Australian explorer Douglas Mawson a century ago.
A number of attempts to reach the stricken ship by icebreaker failed due to poor weather, with lack of visibility also hampering plans to airlift the passengers from the vessel by helicopter.
But it's been confirmed that a rescue chopper sent from the Chinese icebreaker Xue Long managed to land next to the Akademik Shokalskiy in the early hours of this mooring (2 January) to retrieve the first group of passengers, most of whom were removed to the icebreaker Aurora Australis after five back-and-forth flights.
The Russian crew of the ship will remain on board to free it from the ice when conditions improve as is forecast over the next few days.
The Guardian has much more on the story HERE.