BEIJING, Jan. 2 (Xinhuanet) -- The helicopter on board the Chinese icebreaker "Xuelong" is ready to airlift Russian scientists and crew from the ship MV Akademik Shokalskiy, trapped in ice off Antarctica. The 22 crew and 52 scientists and tourists on board the ship welcomed the new year as they awaited rescue.
Singing about their experiences, the crew have been clearing the surface for the Chinese helicopter to land. The icebreaker Xuelong left Shanghai in November on China’s 30th scientific expedition to Antarctica. It set up an emergency relief group after the Russian ship’s captain sent a formal request on Tuesday for the helicopter rescue.
The expedition will airlift trapped passengers when the weather permits. The Russians will be airlifted to the Xuelong in groups of 12. The powerful Australian icebreaker Aurora Australis, which is approaching slowly due to poor weather, will then use its barge to complete the evacuation.