CANBERRA, Australia - A long-awaited rescue of passengers on board a research ship that has been trapped in Antarctic ice for more than a week is finally underway.
Expedition spokesman Alvin Stone said a helicopter from a nearby Chinese icebreaker landed near the Akademik Shokalskiy on Thursday and the operation to evacuate the 52 scientists and tourists on board had begun.
Expedition leader Chris Turney posted a video on his Twitter account showing the helicopter's arrival.
The Australian Maritime Safety Authority's Rescue Coordination Centre, which is handling the operation, said it was still trying to confirm the reports that the evacuation had begun.
The Akademik Shokalskiy has been stuck since Christmas Eve.