Chinese icebreaker Snow Dragon breaks free from sea ice

Chinese state media say the country's icebreaker has broken free from heavy sea ice in Antarctica after becoming trapped last week.

Ship involved in rescue of researchers, tourists also became stuck in Antarctic sea ice

Chinese icebreaker Xuelong, or Snow Dragon, is shown harbored in Shanghai in September 2012. The ship became stuck in sea ice near Antarctica after rescuing researchers and tourists from a Russian ship that had become trapped in heavy ice. (Pei Xin/Xinhua News Agency/Associated Press)

Chinese state media say the country's icebreaker has broken free from heavy sea ice in Antarctica after becoming trapped last week.

The Xue Long, or Snow Dragon, reported becoming trapped on Friday, a day after rescuing those on board a Russian research ship that became stuck on Christmas Eve.

The official Xinhua News Agency reported from the Xue Long that it successfully escaped on Tuesday after making a 100-degree turn and pushing away the ice, thereby splitting it and opening up a channel of water.

The research ship, Akademik Shokalskiy, had been retracing Sir Douglas Mawson's Antarctic expedition and conducting scientific research when it became trapped in heavy ice. The 52 scientists and tourists on board were airlifted to safety more than a week later by a helicopter that was flown off the Snow Dragon.