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    RUSSIAN POLAR EXPLORERS MAY BE EVACUATED ON SATURDAY

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    ST.PETERSBURG, MARCH 4. /RIA NOVOSTI-NORTH-WEST/ -- Operation to evacuate polar explorers from the SP-2 drifting station may begin on Friday, head of the Arctic expedition in chief of the research programme SP-32 Vladimir Sokolov told RIA Novosti on Thursday.

    The weather may affect these plans although the forecast is good for now, he said.

    Evacuation will involve the Mi-26 heavy helicopter and two An-74 planes, he continued.

    On Friday the aircraft will move to Spitsbergen or a populated place on Franz Joseph Land in the Arctic ocean. On the next day they will go to the SP-32.

    Evacuation proper is planned for Saturday, March 6, because the bright time of day is required, Sokolov went on to say.

    All members of the SP-32 are in good health and nothing is threatening their life.

    On Wednesday night the station got in the ice compression zone as a result of which a wave of ice blocks was formed, engulfing part of the living and service premises. Twelve members of the SP-32 have not suffered. The station was initially planned to end work on March 20.

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