02/01/2014 04:16 GMT | Updated 23/01/2014 10:52 GMT

Antarctica Ship Rescue Begins After Passengers On Research Ship Trapped For A Week (VIDEO)

A long-awaited rescue of passengers on board a research ship trapped in Antarctic ice for more than a week finally got under way on Thursday.

A helicopter from the Chinese icebreaker Snow Dragon was expected to fly passengers to a nearby vessel after successfully managing to land next to the ship.

ship helicopter arcticA Helicopter from the nearby Chinese icebreaker Xue Long picks up the first batch of passengers from the stranded Russian ship MV Akademik Shokalskiy

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