A Russian fishing trawler plying the frigid northern waters off the far eastern Kamchatka Peninsula suddenly capsized and sank, reportedly while recovering its nets, killing at least 56 among a crew of 132 crew members.
At least 63 people have been rescued after the Dalniy Vostok went down in the Sea of Okhotsk, leaving 13 still missing in the bitterly cold water.
As NPR’s Corey Flintoff reports, some of the rescued crew members said the vessel was hoisting aboard a net full of fish when it capsized and sank in just 15 minutes.
“Most crew members were thrown into the water, and many of those rescued were reported to be suffering from hypothermia,” Corey says.
The trawler’s international crew includes crew from Russian, Myanmar, Lithuania, Ukraine and Vanuatu.
Interfax quotes Vasily Sokolov, deputy chief of the Russian Fisheries Agency, as denying reports that the 26-year-old vessel was overloaded at the time of the sinking.
The Associated Press says that some 26 fishing boats and 1,300 fishermen and emergency workers were involved in the rescue effort.