VIDEO: Russian ship near Antarctica still in danger of sinking with rescue days away


The Sparta, photographed after hitting ice by the U.S. Air Force, is struggling to stay afloat while awaiting rescue. (Photo from Reuter video.)

The crew of a Russian ship stranded off Antarctica is having to rely on supplies delivered by the New Zealand Air Force to fix their ailing ship.

The Sparta, with 32 people on board, hit underwater ice on Friday that punched a hole in its hull. The ship has been listing and is in danger of sinking and no help is expected to arrive for several more days, because of heavy ice in the area.

In order to try and keep the ship afloat, the crew is pumping water out of the ship. New Zealand's air force dropped a third pump and supplies for patches and other needs onto an ice sheet that the ship is near.

The crew, 15 Russians, 16 Indonesians and one Ukrainian, will try to keep the ship afloat, at least until other ships can reach the area. According to the Associated Press, several ships are heading to the area of the Sparta to attempt a rescue.

"The Norwegian vessel Seljavaer was heading away from the stranded vessel in an attempt to navigate a path around heavy ice, while the Sparta's sister ship, the Chiyo Maru No. 3, is still some 100 nautical miles away. The ice-strengthened polar research vessel Araon is estimated to arrive in the area on Dec. 26," the AP reported.

 New NZ Aid for Stranded Sparta
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