Trawler sinks in icy sea killing at least 54 people

The trawler sunk without sending a distress signal
The trawler sunk without sending a distress signal

A Russian trawler with a crew of 132 sank in the Sea of Okhotsk off of the Kamchatka Peninsula and at least 54 people were killed.

Emergency services in Kamchatka said 63 crew members were rescued and the fate of the remaining 15 from the Dalny Vostok trawler was unknown.

More than 25 fishing boats in the area helped to rescue the crew members, the emergency services said.

No cause for the sinking was given, but the Interfax news agency said drifting ice in the chilly Pacific waters may have played a role.

Rescue workers were able to lift aboard fishing boats 63 crew members and 54 bodies, the news agency said.

The trawler sent no distress signals prior to sinking, Interfax said.

The Russian emergencies ministry sent an Mi-8 helicopter with rescuers and doctors aboard to deliver medical assistance and transport rescued crew members to hospitals in the city of Magadan.

It also set up a telephone hotline for families of the crew.

Among the 132 crew members, 78 are from Russia, 42 from Burma and the rest from Latvia, Ukraine and Vanuatu.

The search and rescue operation involved 1,300 people and 29 units of equipment, emergency services said.