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Argentines Join Antarctic Rescue

June 25, 2002

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BUENOS AIRES, Argentina (AP) _ An Argentine icebreaker set out Tuesday to join the rescue effort for 107 people aboard a German ship stranded in the ice off Antarctica.

The Almirante Irizar, one of Latin America’s most formidable icebreakers, carried hundreds of tons of fuel and supplies when it left before dawn for the 5,000-mile voyage.

The Argentina navy’s Antarctic Command said the icebreaker would join a South African ship and a Swedish icebreaker headed to the German ship.

The Magdalena Oldendorff was carrying 79 Russian scientists and 28 crew to Cape Town from the Novolazarevskaya station in northeast Antarctica when it became trapped by drifting ice June 11 and was forced to anchor in a bay. It was returning from a scientific mission at the time.

The Almirante Irizar was built in 1978 and is one of the biggest icebreakers of its class in South America. It can smash ice up to 25 yards thick. It was expected to arrive July 8.

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