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An operation to rescue passengers from a ship stranded in Antarctic ice since Christmas Eve has finally begun.The arrival of a Chinese helicopter was announced on Twitter by Chris Turney, who heads the scientific team onboard the Russian research vessel, the Akademik Shokalskiy.Bad weather conditions had hampered earlier attempts to evacuate the 52 scientists and tourists.They are now set to be airlifted to a Chinese icebreaker and then put on a barge. It will take them to an Australian supply ship nearby.The Akademik Shokalskiy’s expedition was to commemorate the 100th anniversary of an Antarcticjourney by famed Australian explorer Douglas Mawson.