Ship Stuck in Ice Still Waiting for Aid After Rescue Ship Falters

b_250_0_16777215_00_images_obgrabber_2013-12_7d71e990cc.jpgiStockphoto/Thinkstock (NEW YORK) -- A Russian ship stuck in the Antarctic ice will have to wait a little while longer after the first icebreaking vessel sent to assist also got stuck in the ice. The Russian-operated Akademik Shokalskiy, an ice-strengthened vessel touring the Antarctic as part of a research mission, became stuck in thick ice off the coast of Antarctica on Wednesday.

The crew and passengers had been waiting for three ice-breaking vessels to extract them from the ice, but the first to arrive -- the Chinese Xue Long reported on Friday night that it could not break through the ice.

The second rescue vessel , the French icebreaker Astrolabe, was also unable to break the ice and is waiting on the edge of the ice pack, according to a spokesperson for the exploration team.

Researchers onboard the Akademik Shokalskiy are waiting for a third ship, the Aurora Australis, to arrive. The Aurora Australis, has a significantly higher rating for icebreaking capability.

The scientists aboard have continued their research, recording seal sounds beneath the ice, counting bird populations, noting the algae and lichen on ice and rocks nearby, and pointing out penguins, birds and seals that live along the shorelines of Antarctica.

The scientists were on the second leg of a two-part, two-month-long journey around Antarctica in which they retraced the steps of the first expedition to map Antarctica a century ago, led by Sir Douglas Mawson. The trip has been dubbed “The Spirit of Mawson.”

Fifty-seven people spent Christmas Day aboard the ship, including 22 crew members and 35 passengers. Most of those aboard are scientists, though the group did open the trip to members of the public with prices starting at $8,000 for a bunk.

The passengers have been making YouTube videos showing the harsh conditions on the ship’s deck and Tweeting about their predicament, including what they ate for Christmas.

Because of the difficult nature of the journey, the ship had planned for delays and bad weather, according to the blog.

The researchers aboard are mainly from universities in New Zealand and Australia.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio