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article imageScientists rescued by icebound ship in Antarctic

By Robert Weller     Jan 2, 2014 in Science
Sydney - If it had been in 3D, it might have seemed like a replay of the movie “Gravity.” The U.S., Russia and China were all involved in the rescue of scientists from the Antarctic.
US climate change experts, other scientists and “extreme tourists,” the kind shown in the Chernobyl Diaries, were ferried from an icebound Russian research ship Thursday on a Chinese helicopter from the Snow Dragon icebreaker.
The Associated Press reported a brief calm in the weather allowed the helicopter to pluck the 52 passengers from the Russian ship.
"I think everyone is relieved and excited to be going on to the Australian icebreaker and then home," expedition leader Chris Turney told The Associated Press by satellite phone from the Antarctic.
The ship departed with a group of 25 professors and graduate students and 20 tourists from Bluff, New Zealand, on Dec. 8.
Joanne Sim, a paying passenger from Sydney, told the Sydney Morning Herald it felt great to be on the Aurora.
"It really has been an emotional rollercoaster," said the Sydney resident, who cried as she boarded the Australian icebreaker.
At one point it looked like the preparation for a downhill ski race as passengers stomped their feet on the snow to make a landing pad.
While it might seem ironic that a ship full of weather scientists couldn’t tell the blizzard that trapped them was coming, the fact that a storm caught the ship off guard illustrates that weather forecasts beyond a few days are of limited value.
University of Colorado ice scientist Waleed, said it will be at least a year before scientists can determine whether this recent weather was tied to climate change.
The scientists were flown to an icebreaker in clear waters, the Aurora Ausstralis, 12 at a time. They had been aboard the the Russian ship MV kademik Shokalskiy.
They had been trapped since Christmas Eve when blinding wind-blown snow frustrated repeated rescue attempts. The 22 crew members stayed aboard and will wait for the ice to clear.
More about Antarctica, Ice, Climate change, Gravity, China
 
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