Monday, April 21, 2014   

Chinese chopper lifts dozen off Antarctica vessel
(01-02 19:04)

The first group of 12 passengers aboard a Russian research vessel stuck in sea ice off Antarctica have been transferred by a Chinese helicopter to an ice surface near an Australian rescue ship today, a Xinhua reporter on board the Chinese icebreaker Xuelong said.
The passengers were carried on Xueying 12, a helicopter on board the Xuelong, after an earlier flight to check conditions around the stranded MV Akademik Shokalskiy to prepare for the landing on ice, said the reporter.
The helicopter could only land on ice near the Russian ship as there is no apron aboard it, said the reporter.
On Wednesday, Xueying captain Jia Shuliang told Xinhua they were ready to transport the 52 scientists and tourists aboard Akademik Shokalskiy in groups of 12.
The rescued will be sent to drifting ice-free waters aboard Aurora Australis after all the 52 are airlifted, said the reporter.
Captain of MV Akademik Shokalskiy Igor Kiselev also confirmed to Russian media today about the rescue of the first batch of passengers.

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