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Second Air Drop Made to Russian Fishing Vessel Stranded in the Antarctic

A military transport plane Wednesday left Christchurch, New Zealand, to make a second air drop to crew on a Russian fishing vessel stranded in the Antarctic.

The New Zealand Air Force plane carrying pumps, patches and other equipment left at 9:00am local time and was expected to arrive at the damaged vessel about 4:00pm, authorities with the Rescue Co-ordination Centre New Zealand said.

The 158-foot boat, in the region to catch toothfish, was holed when it hit an iceberg Friday about 2,000 nautical miles southeast of New Zealand.

Ice tore a one-foot hole in the hull of the Sparta, with authorities telling Radio New Zealand the vessel was still taking on water and could not move until the gash was repaired.

Thick sea ice was continuing to hamper rescue efforts, with ships from three nations all struggling to reach the stricken vessel and its crew made up of 15 Russians, 16 Indonesians and a Ukrainian.

Weather in the region was expected to worsen Thursday.