Ka-32 helicopter rescues passengers from ship trapped in Antarctic sea ice
A Ka-32 helicopter, built by Russian Helicopters, rescued passengers from a ship trapped in Antarctic sea ice. On 2 January 2014, the Ka-32 helicopter based on the Chinese icebreaker Xue Long, successfully completed an operation to evacuate passengers from the ship, which had been trapped in sea ice about 1,500 nautical miles from the coast of Australia since 24 December 2013.
Two icebreakers – the Chinese Xue Long and Australian Aurora Australis – had attempted unsuccessfully to reach the Akademik Shokalskiy, after which it was decided to evacuate the passengers.
The Ka-32A11BC made five flights to evacuate passengers, and made two additional trips to retrieve their luggage and equipment from the expedition to the Aurora Australis. In total 52 people were evacuated, including tourists and scientists, in an operation lasting about four and a half hours.