Passengers aboard an ice-bound cruise ship trapped off the coast of Antarctica cheered Friday night when they spotted the Chinese ice-breaker Snow Dragon on the horizon.
"There's a lot of relief among the team and a lot of happy faces," said expedition leader Chris Turney in a video posted on YouTube.
However, the jubilance was short-lived.
The Snow Dragon icebreaker came within 7 miles of the stranded ship but had to retreat after the ice became too thick, expedition spokesman Alvin Stone told the Associated Press. France's L'Astrolabe made it to the edge of the sea ice surrounding the ship, too, but also called off its mission for the same reason.
Turney, professor of climate change at the University of New South Wales, Australia, has been tweeting and blogging the adventure, and has become a minor celebrity of sorts. Using tools unimaginable to adventurers who explored the frozen continent a century ago, his reports recorded in howling blizzard winds show the enthusiasm and nonchalance of a real-life Indiana Jones.