54 people have died with 15 missing after a Russian freezing trawler carrying a crew of 132 sank off the Kamchatka Peninsula in the Western Pacific on Wednesday, Russian Ministry of Emergency Situations reports.
A local maritime rescue center reported that 63 people aboard the Dalniy Vostok at the time of the accident were rescued from the freezing water, many suffering from hypothermia, with 7 of them in ”serious” need of medical attention.
Viktor Klepikov, coordinating captain of the Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky maritime rescue coordination center, told Reuters that the rescue crews are still searching for the 15 people missing, adding that the cause of the accident is still undetermined.
Russia’s TASS news agency reported that the possible reason for the accident might have been the overcapacitated cargo holds.
Another cause might have been the drifting ice which could have damaged the vessel’s hull, causing it to sink in 15 minutes.
The trawler sank in the Sea of Ohotsk, 155 miles off the city of Magadan, carrying 78 Russian nationals and 54 foreign nationals from Lithuania, Myanmar, Vanuatu and Ukraine.
1,300 people aboard 26 fishing vessels and a helicopter are currently searching for the missing.
World Maritime News Staff: Image: Russian Ministry of Emergency Situations