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Global Skywatch

global warming research hits iceburg

Update- Researchers Rescued from Ice

Antarctica

52 passengers were rescued by Chinese helicopter after their ship became stuck in the ice.

All 52 climate change researchers and tourists were rescued by Chinese helicopter from the Russian science vessel that has been stuck in the ice of Antarctica since Christmas Eve.

Summer Ice

Fox News reported that “all 22 crew members stayed with the icebound vessel, which is not in danger of sinking and has weeks’ worth of supplies on board. They will wait until the ice that surrounds the ship breaks up.” (Which should be quickly, since we’re in global warming. Or maybe they’ll just have to wait until, say, Spring…oh wait this is SUMMER in Antarctica).

A Chinese helicopter rescued the passengers in shifts of 12, and took them to an Australian icebreaker, the Aurora Australis. That ship will now take the passengers to the Australian island state of Tasmania, a journey expected to last two weeks. The rescue oversight was provided by the Australian Maritime Safety Authority’s Rescue Coordination Centre.

The leader of the group, Prof Chris Turney, told the Associated Press, “I think everyone is relieved and excited to be going on to the Australian icebreaker and then home.”

Ice Too Thick for Icebreakers

The rescue came only after days of failed attempts to reach the vessel. Blinding snow, strong winds, fog and thick sea ice forced rescuers to turn back time and again.

Three icebreakers were dispatched to try and crack their way through the ice surrounding the ship, all of which failed. The Aurora came within 12 miles of the ship Monday, but fierce winds and snow forced it to retreat to open water.

Bad Weather

Thursday, it appeared the weather would destroy another chance at a rescue attempt. The helicopter was originally going to airlift the passengers to the Chinese icebreaker where the helicopter is based, with a barge then taking the passengers to the Aurora. But sea ice prevented the barge from reaching the Snow Dragon icebreaker, and the maritime authority said the operation would have to be delayed.

Never Give  Up

Professor Turney stated that a last-minute change in plans allowed the rescue to proceed. The passengers were flown to an ice floe next to the Aurora and then taken by a small boat to the ship. He stated ”I’m a bit sad it’s ended this way. But we got lots and lots of great science done.”

Of course they did. They never give in, those climate change folks. Even surrounded by ice packed tightly around the ship, they still maintained it was “old” ice and their theory of climate change was valid. Some people just can’t take a hint.