BEIJING, Jan. 4 (Xinhua) -- President Xi Jinping has requested all-out efforts to ensure the safety of the staff aboard the research vessel and icebreaker Xuelong, which is trapped in heavy ice after its rescue of passengers on a Russian vessel stranded in Antarctica.
Xuelong's rescue mission had been accomplished under extreme risks and has won honor for China and the people, Xi said. He expressed regards and greetings to the 101-member expedition team, and ordered coordinated efforts to help them out of trouble and ensure their safety.
He also expressed hopes the team respond to the situation in a calm manner and return safely at an early date.
Premier Li Keqiang issued an instruction, asking the Xuelong team to stay calm and wait for the opportune moment to get out of trouble.
Xuelong, or Snow Dragon, on Thursday successfully evacuated 52 passengers who have been trapped on the Russian vessel MV Akademik Shokalskiy since Christmas Eve, with the assistance of the Australian rescue icebreaker Aurora Australis.
However, severe weather conditions trapped Xuelong and the team when they were about to continue the expedition after the rescue mission. Sources say it is unable to free itself from the distress on its own.
It is expected a positive weather change on Monday would make conditions favorable for Xuelong to get free.
Chinese helicopter lifts all passengers on trapped Russian ship to safety
ABOARD XUELONG, Jan. 2 (Xinhua) -- A Chinese helicopter transferred all 52 passengers aboard a stranded Russian vessel to safe ice near an Australian rescue ship on Thursday, 10 days after the MV Akademik Shokalskiy became stuck in sea ice off Antarctica.
The passengers, as well as luggage, scientific instruments and equipment, were flown to safe ice near the Aurora Australis by Xueying 12, a helicopter on board China's icebreaker Xuelong, and are aboard the Australian ship. An earlier flight examined the surrounding area to prepare for landing on ice. Full story
First group of passengers on stranded Russian vessel airlifted by Chinese helicopter: Xinhua reporter
ABOARD XUELONG, Jan. 2 (Xinhua) -- The first group of 12 passengers aboard a Russian vessel stuck in sea ice off Antarctica have been transferred by a Chinese helicopter to ice surface near an Australian rescue ship on Thursday, said a Xinhua reporter.
The passengers were taken to safe ice near Aurora Australis by Xueying 12, a helicopter on board China's icebreaker Xuelong, after an earlier flight examining the conditions around the stranded MV Akademik Shokalskiy to prepare for the landing on ice, said the reporter aboard Xuelong. Full story
Rescue helicopter finally reaches Russian ship stuck in sea ice in Antarctica
CANBERRA, Jan. 2 (Xinhua) -- A helicopter from Chinese icebreaker Xue Long finally reached the Russian research ship stuck in sea ice in Antarctica at around 5 p.m. (local time) after several attempts were thwarted by severe weather, the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) reported on Thursday.
ABC footage showed the rescue helicopter has reached the Russian ship and the rescue operation has started.Full story