Those two icebreakers -- plus a third, from Australia -- were battling the planet's coldest environment in trying to reach the stranded Russian ship MV Akademik Shokalskiy, whose 74 researchers, crew and tourists remained in good condition despite being at a frozen standstill since Monday. [...]
The Aurora Australis out of Australia is two days from the Russian ship, its captain, Murray Doyle, told CNN on Friday.
China's State Oceanic Administration said the Xue Long sailed through an intense cyclone to reach the Akademik Shokalskiy sooner.
Meanwhile, spirits were high Friday aboard the Akademik Shokalskiy.
"The vessel is fine, it's safe and everyone on board is very well," expedition leader Chris Turney, a professor of climate change at University of New South Wales in Australia told CNN. "Morale is really high."
It got stuck in the ice on Monday night -- 15 days after setting out on the second leg of its research trip.
h/t Dave Burge: