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Weather hits Arctic ship rescue bid

Monday, December 30, 2013 - 01:02

Dec. 30 - 0Australian icebreaker attempt to reach trapped Russian ship halted by blizzard. Paul Chapman reports.

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The Aurora Australis is one of two ships trying to reach a Russian vessel stranded for a week in the Antarctic sea-ice. A blizzard has forced it to turn back to open waters when it was about 18 kilometres from the trapped ship. A Chinese ship's also tried and failed to get to it but Australian maritime safety officials co-ordinating the rescue say there are still options. (SOUNDBITE)(English) LISA MARTIN, AUSTRALIAN MARITIME SAFETY AUTHORITY SPOKESPERSON, SAYING: "If the Aurora Australis cannot get through due to the ice conditions then we'd be looking at using the helicopter from the Chinese vessel to evacuate the passengers." The MV Akademik Shokalskiy left New Zealand on a privately funded trip with 74 passengers and 22 crew on board. The expedition commemorates the 100th anniversary of a journey led by Australian explorer Douglas Mawson. Russia's Australian embassy says everyone on board is in good health and there's no threat to their lives or safety. The would-be rescuers now have to wait for the weather to improve before any second attempt to reach them.

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Weather hits Arctic ship rescue bid

Monday, December 30, 2013 - 01:02