Ice bound ships break free in Antarctica

23:24, Jan 07 2014
Trapped ship in Antarctica
The weather has been so bad the team had to put up a tent for communications on the top deck of the Shokalskiy.
Trapped ship in Antarctica
The boat stuck in the ice
Trapped ship in Antarctica
The chopper sent out to scope the area after a Chinese icebreaker sent to rescue the team had to abandon the mission.
Trapped ship in Antarctica
The work goes on: "Dr Erik van Sebille of the AAE is working with co-leader Dr Chris Fogwill to measure changes in the saltiness and temperature of the ocean near one of the observation sites of the original expedition."
Trapped ship in Antarctica
The boat is well wedged in.
Trapped ship in Antarctica
Professor Chris Turney, leader of the expedition, talking to international media from the top deck of the Shokalskiy.
Trapped ship in Antarctica
The stranded MV Akademik Shokalskiy.
Trapped ship in Antarctica
Cara Turney and her mother Annette brave the cold to enjoy the first few minutes of the New Year on the top deck of the ship.
Trapped ship in Antarctica
Bringing in the new year in a tent lashed to the Akademik Shokalskiy's top deck.
Trapped ship in Antarctica
Passengers stamp out a helipad ready for a rescue chopper to airlift them out.
Trapped ship in Antarctica
The landing area for the rescue helicopter.
Trapped ship in Antarctica
The passengers were flown out in small groups.
Trapped ship in Antarctica
Making a run for the chopper.
Trapped ship in Antarctica
After days of disappointment, the stranded passengers finally get airlifted from the sip.
us ship
The Polar Star is being sent by the US to help free Russian ship Akademik Shokalskiy and Chinese icebreaker Snow Dragon gripped by Antarctic ice.

A stranded Russian icebreaker and a Chinese vessel that got stuck while trying to rescue its passengers have both now broken free from heavy ice in Antarctica.

The Russian vessel Akademik Shokalskiy managed to break free from heavy ice in Commonwealth Bay on Tuesday night and slowly make its way north through lighter ice conditions.

The Chinese vessel Xue Long - which had gone to the rescue of New Zealanders and Australians from the Russian ship - also escaped heavy ice about 11pm and has started moving slowly through lighter ice conditions.

Fifty-two scientists, tourists and journalists spent more than a week locked in ice before being taken by the Xue Long's helicopter to Australian icebreaker Aurora Australis. The Australis is now on its way to Hobart.

The group had been aboard the Russian ship Akademik Shokalskiy retracing the path of 20th century Australian Antarctic explorer Douglas Mawson.

Australian Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA) said the Xue Long had advised the agency it no longer needs help at this time.

AMSA is waiting to hear from the Russian vessel, which has been beset by ice since Christmas Eve, about whether it needs further help.

The US Coast Guard ice breaker Polar Star, which had responded to a request for help from AMSA, will continue to head towards the area until it is clear that both vessels are free of the ice field and no longer in danger.

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AAP