The last of the passengers and crew rescued from the Antarctic waters stranded and later sank cruise vessel Explorer arrived on Sunday just after midday in Punta Arenas in the extreme south of Chile.
A Chilean Air Force Hercules transported the last group of 77 people from the Chilean Antarctic base of President Frei from where the first group of 77 had been flown on Saturday. The group included the Explorer's Captain Beng Wiman Some members of the first group have gone on to the capital, Santiago, and are due to start flying home soon. A total of 154 people had to take to lifeboats after their cruise hit an underwater ice on Friday and later sank. On arriving to Punta Arenas after the two and a half hour trip the crew members were received by representatives from the Toronto based GAP cruise company and quickly escorted to buses with strict orders to avoid all contact with the media. A Chilean Air Force spokesman said that while in the barracks on President Frei base in King George island, the tourists had been "doing very well and some of them have been in touch with their families via the internet". Half of the 154 passenger and crew spent the night at the Chilean base and the other half in the Uruguayan base Artigas, distant a mile from the air strip. In the hotel were most passengers are staying a medical clinic has been mounted to help survivors with their prescriptions and to check some of those who might have health problems. No major case was reported and 16 of the first group of 77 visited the clinic, reports the Punta Arenas press. Some 23 Britons, 17 Dutch and 13 Americans were among those on board the ship. There were also 10 Australians and 10 Canadians and other nationalities included Irish, Danish, Swiss, Belgian, Japanese, French, German and Chinese.