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Icebreaker heads to trapped Antartica ship

Friday, December 27, 2013 - 01:22

Dec. 27 - Icebreaker rushes to help research ship trapped in Antarctic ice. Sarah Toms reports.

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A Chinese icebreaker is trying to reach this scientific research ship, trapped in dense ice off East Antarctica since Christmas Day. The Snow Dragon icebreaker is cutting a path through the ice so this mission vessel Academic Shokalskiy can reach open waters. (French and Australian boats are also heading into the icy waters of the Southern Ocean to help.) There are 74 people on board the vessel being used by the Australasian Antarctic Expedition. It is well stocked with food and those on board are in no danger. But Chris Turney -- one of the leaders -- of the science team fears blizzards could hamper the rescue effort. (SOUNDBITE) (English) PROFESSOR OF CLIMATE CHANGE UNIVERSITY OF NEW SOUTH WALES, CHRIS TURNEY SAYING: "Just a short while ago we heard on the bridge form the Chinese ice breaker vessel, Snow Dragon, that they're close. But the bad news is the sea ice edged about 20 kilometres out from where we are now, along way from when she first got locked in the sea ice. Just over my left shoulder you can hopefully see some grey sky, that's what they call water sky. Basically it means the open water is reflecting on the cloud just above it. That's the most likely route the Chinese vessel is going to take to get to us." The scientists are following the route explorer Douglas Mawson travelled a century ago and looking at how the environment has changed over the past 100 years.

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Icebreaker heads to trapped Antartica ship

Friday, December 27, 2013 - 01:22