Tuesday 31 December 2013

Passengers on Ship Trapped in Antarctic Ice Melt Fears via Social Media

Concerned relatives and friends of 74 people still stranded in Antarctica after their research ship got trapped in ice on Christmas Eve are not only getting routine updates from officials and media, they are also seeing messages from the ship's passengers via social media.
Passengers Alok Jha and Laurence Topham, who are journalists with The Guardian, as well as Chris Turney, a professor and leader on the expedition, are providing detailed updates aboard Russia's MV Akademik Shokalskiy. Together, the three have been typing Twitter missives, creating Vine and YouTube videos and even doing media interviews.

Among the updates are maps from Turney. "Still here! All well," he says in his latest map:
Screen Shot 2013-12-28 at 2.28.58 PM

A Chinese icebreaker called Snow Dragon failed to rescue the stranded ship on Friday due to thick ice, according to Jha, who described the conditions and passengers' morale as follows:
After two days of intense blizzards, with biting cold that had forced us to spend all our time below decks, the break in the weather and the approaching rescue had put the crew and passengers of the MV Akademik Shokalskiy in good spirits. With temperatures at a pleasantly bearable -1C, some of the crew went on to the ice surrounding the ship in all directions and killed time by making igloos. The rest remained on board and watched the Chinese icebreaker through binoculars as it appeared to make steady progress, silently zigzagging through the ice, from the upper deck of the ship. As we waited, penguins, apparently confused by the sudden appearance of a solid mass caused by the compacting of ice floes around our vessel, wandered past at regular intervals, looking for the shoreline. But we woke after a brief sleep to the sound of disappointment. An announcement on the ship's noticeboard broke the bad news: after spending about 12 hours cutting through seven nautical miles of ice, the Xue Long had turned around and headed back towards open water.
Tweets from the trio include photos of nearby penguins, locator maps and reassurances that they're all doing well. All together, the passengers have used Twitter, Vine, YouTube, Google+ and Skype to update the world.
The following tweets (in chronological order) detail the failed rescue plan. First, we see happy faces as the Snow Dragon nears, and then the sad realization that the plan failed, with a final update saying, "Still Waiting":
View image on Twitter
View image on Twitter

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