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U.S. scientists rescued from Antarctic island by Argentine icebreaker

/ Source: Associated Press

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BUENOS AIRES, Argentina — A group of American scientists who were stranded in an ice-bound island off the northeastern tip of the Antarctic Peninsula were rescued Sunday by an Argentine icebreaker, U.S. and Argentine authorities said Monday.

The four scientists and a support staff member, who were conducting research at Joinville Island, were airlifted by helicopter to the Almirante Irizar icebreaker.

Image:
An Argentine helicopter comes to the rescue of stranded American scientists on Joinville Island in Antarctica on March 11.Argentina Navy via AP

Related: Massive Iceberg Breaks off From Antarctica. One Scientist Says It’s ‘Suspicious’

Argentina's Foreign Ministry said that the U.S. icebreaker Laurence M. Gould was unable to carry out the evacuation because the ice barrier was too dense on the Weddell Sea in front of the island that is south of the Argentine mainland. The U.S. Antarctic Program then requested assistance from Argentina.

Argentina's armed forces said that the five are in good health and will be transferred to the U.S. vessel when weather conditions improve.

The U.S. National Science Foundation's Office of Polar Programs said the scientists are led by Alexander R. Simms, an associate professor of earth sciences at the University of California, Santa Barbara. The support staff member is an employee of the NSF's Colorado-based Antarctic support contractor.

"The U.S. Antarctic Program expresses its gratitude to their Argentine colleagues for their willingness to help," it said.

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