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VIDEO: Rescuers Are Drawing Near To Ship Stuck In Antarctic

NPR icon by Mark Memmott
Chris Turney

"There's a lot of relief amongst the team and there's lots of happy faces," expedition leader Chris Turney said Friday in a fresh video posted from the deck of the MV Akademik Shokalskiy — an expedition vessel that's been trapped by Antarctic Sea ice since Monday.

Smiles are creasing the faces of the 74 crew members and passengers aboard the Russian-flagged ship because they can see a Chinese ice breaker, the Snow Dragon, approaching.

In the video, on which Turney says it's about 9:30 p.m. Friday (he seems to be referring to the time in his native Australia, which means he was speaking at 5:30 a.m. ET), he predicts the Snow Dragon "should be alongside ... in the next 2-3 hours."

As CNN writes, the passengers and crew on the stranded ship spent Christmas "at a frozen standstill 100 nautical miles east of the French base Dumont D'Urville, about 1,500 nautical miles south of Hobart, Tasmania." Turney, a University of New South Wales professor of climate change, told the news network Friday that "everyone is fine. ... The vessel is safe, and we're looking forward to getting home and having a decent cup of coffee soon."

According to The Associated Press, "the scientific team on board the vessel — which left New Zealand on Nov. 28 — had been recreating Australian explorer Douglas Mawson's century-old voyage to Antarctica when it became trapped. They plan to continue their expedition after they are freed, Turney said."

Two other icebreakers are also making their way told the MV Akademik Shokalskiy in case more help is needed.

Turney is posting a steady stream of updates here.

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