Nightly News   |  December 30, 2013

Researcher Aboard Stuck Ship: ‘We Were Just Incredibly Unlucky’

So far three icebreaker ships have tried and failed to reach the Russian research ship stranded amid Antarctic ice. Plan B will be evacuation by helicopter. NBC’s Martin Fletcher reports.

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This content comes from Closed Captioning that was broadcast along with this program.

>>> still no end in sight more than six days after the research ship became stuck in thick ice off ant aarcticantarctica. we get the latest from martin fletcher .

>> reporter: looking good when a helicopter from a chinese ice breaker flew over, but in the newest report posted on youtube --

>> it's a total whiteout. snow blowing everyone where and it's damn cold outside.

>> reporter: stuck since christmas eve , 74 passengers and crew. the ship is undamaged. at least inside it's snug and warm. they are making the best of it. enough food -- fresh and dehydrated -- for weeks. a round of activities like lectures and films, books and games. earlier today the expedition leader spoke with nbc.

>> we are incredibly lucky. it was a massive blowout of old sea ice and the southeasterly winds blow them in and trapped us.

>> reporter: while the action is ten miles away , ice breakers struggle to cut through ice ten feet thick, more than double the capacity. three ice breakers from france, china and australia, have tried and failed. they will keep trying and there is always evacuation by helicopter.

>> we are having a really nice time hanging out with penguins.

>> reporter: the before today 's snow and wind the scientists seemed most concerned about their families back home.

>> i miss you so much. i hope so see you soon.

>> reporter: it's hard to stay chipper with rescue likely only in the new year. turney's first tweet today, a disappointing day but hopefully the ice breakers will get through to us tomorrow. disappointing for the ship's owners, too. they could have to pay the rescue costs. that's quickly adding up. martin fletcher , nbc news, london.