the rescue playing out in antarctica. This evening word the rescuers may need rescued. Here on that, abc's gio benitez. Reporter: Deep in the frozen antarctic, 74 tourists and researchers on that... See More
the rescue playing out in antarctica. This evening word the rescuers may need rescued. Here on that, abc's gio benitez. Reporter: Deep in the frozen antarctic, 74 tourists and researchers on that stranded ship could see their rescuers. The icebreaker coming to rescue us, alan. Brilliant! Reporter: Penguins in view, hope filling the cold air. And a chinese icebreaker, the snow dragon, in the distance, tearing through the ice to free the ship. There's a lot of relief amongst the team, and there's a lot of happy faces. Reporter: But late today, a dramatic twist. The snow dragon was so close, but it got stuck in the ice, too. They are now turning back. The explorers just spent 24 hours at a legendary polar exploration site. Recreating experiments first done 100 years ago. On the way back home, a major blizzard trapping the ship in the ice. The bad news is the sea ice edge is a long way from where we first got locked in the sea ice. Reporter: When the ice first formed around the ship the explorers were just two miles from open water. Now that ice field has grown. The ocean is now 13 miles away, that's how much thick ice rescuers have to break through. What's going through your mind knowing the icebreaker turned back? It's sort of frustrating again, that we can see hope and help, but unfortunately, we are just in an isolated position still. Reporter: We learned another icebreaker also wasn't strong enough to get through the ice. The only immediate help lies with a third more powerful australian icebreaker possibly day as way. The good news, david, they tell us, they have seven weeks worth of food on that ship. Seven weeks of food. It will come in handy, gio, thank you.
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