CAPE TOWN, South Africa — Rescuers took advantage of moderate weather Thursday to evacuate 21 Russian scientists trapped deep in antarctic waters and said an icebreaker on the way should be able to free their ship.
Tanya Hacker of the Cape Town-based Dutch salvage company Smit Marine said two helicopters had flown from the heated deck of the South African research ship Agulhas as soon as the wind moderated.
"Both helicopters are back on the ship. They have managed to get 21 people off and to deliver more than 661 pounds of food to the others still waiting on board," she said.
The German-owned Magdalena Oldendorff was caught in a bay behind thick ice June 11 and has remained moored to the ice about 550 yards from the ice shelf with supplies running uncomfortably low for the 107 scientists and crew members who were on board.
Hacker said the two helicopters would try today to make two flights each, bringing about 40 more men off the ship.