Scientists whose Antarctic expedition became trapped in sea ice finally returned to dry land Wednesday, apologising for the disruption and facing questions over who will pay for the international rescue mission.
Australian authorities expressed relief Friday after 52 passengers were safely evacuated by helicopter from a Russian ship stranded in Antarctica, but then raised concern for a Chinese rescue vessel caught in heavy ice.
A Chinese icebreaker has failed to break through thick ice to free a ship carrying scientists and tourists stranded off Antarctica, forcing Australian authorities to look at other rescue options Saturday.
Three icebreaking ships were Thursday hurrying to reach a Russian vessel carrying 74 people on a scientific expedition which is trapped by ice off Antarctica, with Australian authorities coordinating the rescue mission.
Two Australian explorers have battled dangerous sea ice to reach the historic Mawson's Huts in Antarctica which have been isolated for years by a giant iceberg blocking the route in, officials said Friday.
Chinese workers are on their way to build the country's fourth Antarctic research base and a fifth is being planned, state-run media said Thursday as the country expands its imprint on the icy continent.