S.A.Agulas covers one third of its way to rescue Russian antarctic explorers

The South African oceanographic ship S.A.Agulas has covered one third of the route on its way to rescue Russian antarctic explorers, who have by now spent nine days on board the ice-bound Magdalena Oldendorf.

According to the information of the Antarctic Logistics Center in Capetown, from where the Agulas departed at 18:00 Moscow time on June 16th, the ship has already covered 613 sea miles /the distance between Capetown and the border of the ice zone is 1,840 miles/.

Storm and wind, however, forced rescuers to change their plans. Initially, they expected to reach the ice zone on Sunday, June 23rd; now they assume this won't happen until next Wednesday.

On the third day of its journey, the Agulas is still pushing across a stormy ocean, against a wind of 30-35 mpsec and waves reaching from 6 to 8 meters high, with a speed of 8-9 knots.

On board the ice-bound Magdalena are 79 Russian antarctic explorers, all of them returning home from an antarctic expedition, and 28 crew.

The task facing South African rescuers is to come as close as they can to the Magdalena, so that they could send helicopters to evacuate explorers and the crew and deliver food to the ice-bound vessel.

Andrei Masanov, the Russian ice scout and pilot on board the Agulas, has begun preparing his South African colleagues for the upcoming ice-scouting operation. Helicopters will have to fly deep into the ice field to seek out the easiest way to approach the Magdalena.

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