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updated: 1/8/2014 10:09 AM

2 Chinese ship breaks free of ice in Antarctica

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Associated Press

BEIJING -- A Chinese icebreaker that became trapped last week after coming to the rescue of a Russian research ship stuck in heavy sea ice in Antarctica broke free on Tuesday, state media reported.

The Xue Long, or Snow Dragon, reported becoming trapped on Friday, a day after its helicopter rescued 52 scientists, journalists and tourists on board the Russian Akademik Shokalskiy, which got into trouble on Christmas Eve. They were then transferred to an Australian icebreaker to take them home.

The official Xinhua News Agency reported from the Xue Long that it successfully escaped after making a 100-degree turn and pushing away the ice, thereby splitting it and opening up a channel of water.

Russia's state news agency ITAR-Tass reported that the Russian ship, with its crew who had stayed on board, was making its way out of the dense ice on its own.

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