CANBERRA, Australia (AP) -- The long-awaited rescue of passengers on board a research ship that has been trapped in Antarctic ice for more than a week was successful.
Expedition spokesman Alvin Stone said a helicopter from a nearby Chinese icebreaker landed near the Akademik Shokalskiy on Thursday and the operation to evacuate the 52 scientists and tourists on board had begun. The helicopter was only able to transport a dozen people at a time.
Expedition leader Chris Turney posted a video on his Twitter account showing the helicopter's arrival.
A ferry was scheduled to take the rescued passengers to an Australian vessel.
The Akademik Shokalskiy has been stuck in ten feet of ice since Christmas Eve. The 22 crew members still on board were expected to stay aboard the stranded ship until the ice breaks up and the vessel could be moved.