The Aurora Australis ship sits among new ice, moored in Horseshoe Harbour at Mawson Station, Antarctica, in this undated file photo supplied by the Australian Antarctic Division
February 26, 2016 2:17 AM EST

Australia sent a mission to rescue 37 people who were stranded aboard an Australian icebreaking ship that ran aground after a severe blizzard Wednesday.

Australian officials said on Friday that they were launching a rescue mission to retrieve the members of the icebreaker’s expedition and bring them to Mawson Station — an Australian research facility on Antarctica — reports the BBC. Thirty-one crew members will stay onboard the 4,311-ton vessel, the Aurora Australis, and work to refloat it.

All 68 passengers and crew are safe, authorities said, and the vessel itself incurred only a small breach in its hull. The ship ran aground Wednesday morning when a massive blizzard untethered it from its mooring lines.


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