Ice Foils Rescue Attempt of Russian Ship Stranded in Antarctica

Photo Credit: John "Pathfinder" Lester

Photo Credit: John “Pathfinder” Lester

A Chinese icebreaker trying to reach a Russian ship trapped in Antarctica has been halted by thick ice within sight of the stricken vessel, a passenger and Australian rescue officials said on Saturday.

The Snow Dragon was one of three icebreakers dispatched to free the MV Akademik Shokalskiy, which became stranded far south of Tasmania on Tuesday in ice driven by strong winds.

“Unfortunately Snow Dragon can’t get through. It’s standing by and waiting on another vessel to help. Everyone (is) well,” Chris Turney, an Australian professor who helped organize the voyage on the Russian ship, said via Twitter on Saturday

Earlier, Turney posted a photograph apparently showing the Chinese vessel, a speck on the horizon beyond an expanse of ice.

“It has encountered heavy ice and it’s not safe for them to continue to the Russian vessel for their own safety,” Andrea Hayward-Maher from the Australian Maritime Safety Authority, which is coordinating the rescue effort, told the Australian Broadcasting Corp.

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