Passengers on ship trapped in Antarctic ice to be evacuated by helicopter when weather clears

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Passengers on board a research ship that has been trapped in Antarctic ice for a week are expected to be rescued by helicopter, after three icebreakers failed to reach the paralyzed vessel.

The 74 scientists, tourists and crew on the Russian ship MV Akademik Shokalskiy had been hoping the Australian icebreaker Aurora Australis would be able to crack through the thick ice and allow them to continue on their way. But bad weather forced the Australis to retreat to open water.

The Australian Maritime Safety Authority said on Tuesday that a helicopter on board a Chinese icebreaker will rescue the 52 passengers on board when the weather clears. That's not expected to happen before Wednesday.

The crew plans to stay behind with the ship until the ice breaks up naturally.