The 52 passengers of a Russian cruise ship stranded in an Antarctic ice pack were flown to safety Thursday by a Chinese helicopter, the rescue coordinator said.
The Akademik Shokalskiy has been stuck in the ice 100 nautical miles east of the French base Dumont d'Urville since Dec. 24 with a 22-person crew and 52 passengers, many of them scientists.
The Australian Maritime Safety Authority, which coordinated the rescue, said it was advised that an Australian ship had received the passengers from the Akademik Shokalskiy, Australian Broadcasting Corp. reported. The passengers were flown in groups of 12 by a helicopter from a Chinese ice-breaker.
RIA Novosti said the Shokalskiy crew will remain on board to wait for warmer weather when the ship can guided out of the ice.
The Akademik Shokalskiy became stuck as it retraced Sir Douglas Mawson's Antarctic expedition of 101 years ago.