Sydney ( AsiaNews / Agencies) - All passengers onboard a Russian ship, stuck in the ice in Antarctica for 10 days , were finally rescued yesterday. A Chinese helicopter landed on a emergency runway on the ice, pressed by the ship passengers themselves, and brought to the Aurora Australis , an Australian Navy rescue ship. The passengers included scientists, journalists and tourists.
The drama of the Akademik Shokalskiy began December 24 , when a chill wind from the south blew the ship into an pack ice . The passengers spent Christmas and New Year in the middle of the ice, unable to move . The ice was so thick that ships that came to their rescue - the Australis , France's L'Astrolabe , the Chinese Xue Long - were unable to penetrate it.
Just yesterday the air rescue was decided on, using a helicopter supplied to the Xue Long. The fog and the sea conditions delayed the operation for several hours.
However the 52 saved will not touch ground too soon : the Australis still has to go to the Antarctic base of Casey to refuel, then head to the port of Hobard ( in South Australia ) . In all it will still take a few weeks. The remaining 22 Akademik crew members will wait onboard for the ice to melt again. The ship has supplies and means enough to ensure a pleasant stay.
Originally, the Akademik was to follow the path of Australian explorer Sir Douglas Mawson on his expedition of 1911-1914 , also trying to understand the speed with which the ice of Antarctica is melting.