A group of Americans detained in Chukotka after crossing the Bering Strait on jet skis were released Wednesday and have made the return trip across the icy waters to the U.S. state of Alaska.
Expedition team leader Steven Moll said the group parted with authorities on a warm note and even got a helicopter escort across the border.
"Once we got through the paperwork, we shook hands, we said 'We're all friends, but we have to go home.' We're safely back in Alaska, and we've got a lot of cool things ahead now," Moll said in a video posted to YouTube.
Moll and his five companions, who are filming a reality TV series chronicling their jet-ski trip called "Dangerous Waters," reached Chukotka on Friday. They were met on arrival by a tank and armed men, who detained the men and told them that they didn't have the necessary documents to enter the region, despite having Russian visas.
The remote Chukotka region requires special permission to visit in addition to a Russian visa.
In other videos posted to YouTube, the men reported having received good treatment and said they had been shown museums and taken to hot springs, but said they were anxious to move on.
Moll and his team were told that they must leave the country as soon as the proper documentation could be finished by regional and Moscow authorities.
Team media manager Chad Dalbec confirmed by e-mail that the group had arrived in Teller, Alaska, a remote area with just over 250 inhabitants located about 100 kilometers northwest of Nome, the group's destination.
According to a map online showing the group's movements as tracked by a GPS system, the team arrived in Teller early Wednesday afternoon Moscow time, which is the middle of the night in Alaska.
The men have decided to follow a backup plan and cross the Northwest Passage in a bid to make it to Iceland and Greenland, Dalbec said. The group eventually plans to circumnavigate the globe on jet skis as part of a seven-year trek to be documented for their reality show.