TODAY

TODAY   |  December 30, 2013

Stranded expedition leader: Bad weather not normal

Chris Turney, the expedition leader on board the ship stranded off the coast of Antarctica, says that the thick ice and weather are “quite exceptional,” even for the frigid area, which is currently in the summer season.

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

>>> thank you. chris tourny is the expedition leader. he is with us now by skype from that stranded ship. professor, good morning. how is it going aboard the ship today.

>> good morning to you too. it's going all right. we've had a roller coaster of a day unfortunately today. we were hoping we would be on the way out but unfortunately our relief effort didn't manage to get through to us.

>> how close did an ice breaker get to you before it had to turn around? was it within eyesight?

>> no. not this vessel, unfortunately. it was about 14 or 13 nautical miles but a couple of days ago we had a chinese ice breaker that got within 7 nautical miles . we could see it and we had the team celebrating. we thought we were out but unfortunately the thick ice was too much for it.

>> now, this is summertime in antarctica. is this kind of ice and being stranded in ice something you should expect?

>> no. not really, actually. this is quite exceptional what happened. we had to look at the information and what appears to have happened is on the other side of the open water where we were heading there was a massive blowout of old ice, several years, more than 10 years old. it's thick. it got released. it was remobilized and then we got caught in very heavy southeast wind which is are characteristic of the area and we got packed in between the continent and the heavy ice.

>> well, i'm told about 100 years ago something like this happened and the passengers aboard that ship got off and wa walked. are you prepared to do that?

>> well, hopefully that won't be necessary. yes, they ended up spending 8 months on the sea ice and were stranded. but hopefully -- i won't tell the crew. well, they all know the story but hopefully that won't be something we'll be facing.

>> i wouldn't have been prepared for that. what do you think plan b ? is it going to be an ice breaker or choppered off when the weather clears?

>> well, the big thing is the weather. the low visibility at the moment. one possibility is hopefully the ice breaker will try again. but we could also try helicopter evacuation. and the american ice breaker polar star is in the region soon and that could get us out. there's a variety of option. we're just keeping hope.

>> well, happy new year to you and the crew and all the passengers. stay well and stay connected.

>> thank you very much. thank you for your time.

>> professor chris turney on the stranded ship in antarctica, thank