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11 Russian sailors drown on rescue bid in the Arctic


Moscow : Eleven Russian sailors drowned in the Arctic after their rescue vessel went down in stormy seas on a mission to try to help a fishing boat in distress, it was reported Saturday.

The Moscow daily Komsomolskaya Pravda reported that the Alexey Kulakowski sank in the early hours of Friday in the Laptev Sea, around 35 km outside the port of Tiksi.

The 30-year-old captain of the ship, and two mechanics, aged around 19 and 20 years, from the sinking vessel were rescued.

But the search for the 11 remaining sailors was fruitless. A helicopter only found an empty inflatable rescue raft in the freezying 4-degrees-centigrade waters.

According to some reports, there were only two life-jackets onboard for the 14 crew members.

The rescue vessel was answering a distress call from the fishing boat which had reported engine problems. However, it later developed that the crew of the fishing boat remained unharmed.

It was not immediately clear why the rescue vessel capsized and sank. The shipyard where it was built said it designed specifically for such weather and sea conditions.