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Russia trawler with 132 aboard sinks in icy waters off Kamchatka Peninsula, 54 dead

The death toll in Russia trawler tragedy has reached 54, while 15 still remain unaccounted for, reports said on Thursday.

A Russian freezer trawler carrying 132 on board sank off the Kamchatka peninsula in Russia’s Far East on Thursday.

The trawler sank in the Sea of Okhotsk 330 kilometers west of Krutogorovsky settlement (Kamchatka region) and 250 kilometers south of the city of Magadan, reported the Tass news agency.

Of 132, 63 have been rescued while 54 have been confirmed dead and their bodies have been recovered, region’s emergency services were reported as saying.

However, 15 passengers remain missing and the rescue operation involving over two dozen ships and a rescue helicopter, is underway to look for the remaining survivors in the freezing waters.

According to Russian emergency services, the Dalniy Vostok trawler is said to have been struck by drifting ice that may have pierced a hole in the vessel, the BBC reported.

“Water flooded the engine compartment and the trawler then sank within 15 minutes,” the BBC quoted Russian Emergencies Ministry as saying.

However, according to Russia’s Investigative Committee, the shipwreck’s most probable cause is said to be the vessel’s collission with an obstacle.

“The investigators believe that the most probable cause of the fast submersion of the vessel is the possible collision with an obstacle,” Russia’s Tass news agency quoted official Vladimir Markin, spokesman of Russia’s Investigative Committee.

Russians, 78 in number, comprised more than half of the ship’s passengers, while the remaining hailed from countries including Latvia, Ukraine, Myanmar and Vanuatu.

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