CANBERRA, Australia (AP) — The latest attempt to rescue passengers on board a research ship that has been trapped in Antarctic ice for more than a week was delayed again Thursday after sea ice prevented a barge from reaching one of the rescue vessels.
The Australian Maritime Safety Authority's Rescue Coordination Centre, which is handling the operation, said earlier that weather conditions had improved and rescue flights were expected to commence. A helicopter was expected to airlift passengers to a Chinese icebreaker, the Snow Dragon, and a barge would then ferry them to a nearby Australian vessel.
But before the rescue operation could begin, sea ice had blocked the path of the barge that needed to make it from the Australian vessel, the Aurora Australis, to the Snow Dragon. Because the Aurora isn't built to handle a helicopter landing, it appears unlikely that the passengers would be rescued Thursday.