‘ROUTINE’ STORMY SVALBARD SEA RESCUE: 16 passengers lifted to helicopter after expedition ship gets stuck in ice

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A Swedish expedition vessel that got stuck in ice Tuesday in Hinlopenstretet, giving the 16 passengers a dramatic sea story to share after being removed from the vessel by rescue helicopter, is now loose and attempting to leave the area, according to published reports Wednesday.

The M/S Malmö, built in 1943, is seeking to replicate the 1931 mapping voyage of the Quest at Nordaustlandet, with the aim this year of arriving at Kvitøya, Norway’s easternmost point. But at about 3 p.m. Tuesday The Joint Rescue Coordination Centres (JRCC) received a call for assistance when the ship became stuck in the ice.

“We were on our way up Hinlopenstretet,” Tore Topp, the expedition’s leader, told NRK. “We had wind charts and ice charts, but midway through the strait the wind turned and the strait was filled with ice.”

There was snow, but little wind in the area, making the subsequent rescue using one of The Governor of Svalbard’s two helicopter a routine operation, said Tomas Ringen, a JRCC rescue leader.

The passengers were flown to Longyearbyen. The seven crew members remained behind to free the vessel from the ice.

“The goal is to continue the cruise when the boat returns to Longyearbyen” Topp said.

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