South African helicopter arrives to rescue Russian polar explorers

A South African helicopter has arrived to rescue the German vessel Magdalena Oldendorf, which has frozen in ice near the Antarctic. The vessel was chartered to evacuate 74 Russian Antarctic explorers, but is currently ice-bound with 107 people on board.

As RIA Novosti knows from the rescue mission headquarters in Capetown, another helicopter is also on its way to the ice-blocked ship. Both helicopters took off from the South African boat Agalas, sent to rescue the German vessel. The helicopters will take 9 to 11 people on board, and thus will be able to deliver the Russian polar explorers and the German crew in three or four days.

Usually, the task of evacuating Russian polar explorers from the Antarctics is accomplished by a special Russian boat, but it is under repair at the moment, and Moscow had to charter the German boat instead.

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