PHOTOGRAPH BY SCIENCE & SOCIETY PICTURE LIBRARY, GETTY IMAGES
Published January 2, 2014
After being stranded aboard a Russian research ship for 10 days, a 52-person Antarctic expedition team was rescued in batches by helicopter on Thursday and is now headed back home.
The Akademik Shokalskiy is part of a long line of ships that have gotten trapped in ice in the Arctic and Antarctic polar oceans. (See also: "Ship Stuck in Antarctica Raises Questions About Worth of Reenacting Expeditions.")
While the passengers on theAkademik Shokalskiy appear to be safe and healthy—they've been tweeting and making Vine videos—the crews of previous expeditions caught in similar situations have not always been so lucky.
Here are seven other ill-fated nautical excursions that had unfortunate, and sometimes disastrous, run-ins with sea ice.
1. Barentsz Expedition
Dutch explorer Willem Barentsz set sail in 1596 in search of the fabled Northwest Passage, a route that would allow him to travel between the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans via the icy Arctic Circle. The ship got stuck in sea ice near Novaya Zemlya, and the stranded crew was forced to spend the winter on the ice, staying alive partly by eating arctic foxes and polar bears. Barentsz himself died only a week after he and his party were able to leave in open boats.
2. Franklin Expedition
In 1845, two ships led by Sir John Franklin also attempted to find the Northwest Passage. But the ships—the H.M.S. Erebus and H.M.S. Terror—became icebound in Victoria Strait near King William Island in the Canadian Arctic. Franklin and his 128 men perished, and no signs of the ships have ever been found.
3. H.M.S. Resolute
About five years later, while on an expedition to the Arctic to find the lost Franklin Expedition, the British ship H.M.S. Resolute itself got stuck. The crew was forced to abandon ship, but the vessel eventually broke free of its icy prison and drifted more than a thousand miles on its own before being found and recovered by an American whaling ship. Timbers from the ship were later used to build a desk that was given to the President of the United States.
4. Jeannette Expedition
In July 1879, the Navy steamer Jeannette left San Francisco for the North Pole, only to get stuck in ice near Wrangel Island. The ship remained stuck in the drifting ice for 21 months before it was finally crushed, forcing the party to make a long trek to the Siberian coast. Most of the crew, including its leader George DeLong, died during the journey.
5. Fridtjof Nansen and theFram
In 1892, Norwegian explorer Fridtjof Nansen set sail for the North Pole aboard theFram
6. Shackleton Voyage
In 1915, the ship Endurance, led by Sir Ernest Shackleton, became stuck in pack ice in the Weddell Sea. The ship drifted northward and was eventually crushed and sunk, stranding Shackleton and his crew. After spending months camping on the ice, the party set out in salvaged lifeboats toward uninhabited Elephant Island. From there, Shackleton and five others made an 800-mile (1,300-kilometer) open-boat journey to the island of South Georgia to send help back for the others.
7. The Fram, Part II
In January 2013, a Norwegian cruise ship, also named the Fram, got stuck in the Antarctic sea ice. The ship was ultimately rescued by a British Navy icebreaker, the H.M.S. Proctector.
Follow Ker Than on Twitter.
Special Ad Section
Video of the Day
Tigers are secretive by nature, making it difficult to estimate their populations. See how the Wildlife Conservation Society employs an ingenious solution.