Raft seen with possible survivors of Russia oil rig disaster

19th December 2011, Comments 0 comments

Rescuers on Monday spotted a raft carrying around 15 possible survivors from Russia's oil rig disaster off Sakhalin island in the Far East, the rig's owner said.

"Aircraft have spotted a life raft with around 15 people. It is unclear whether they are dead or alive," the director of state-owned company Arktikmorneftegazrazvedka (AMNGR), Yury Melikhov told a briefing in the northern city of Murmansk.

His comments were confirmed to AFP by his spokesman Andrei Bobrov.

"Vessels have been dispatched to the area," Bobrov said.

The jack-up oil rig, the Kolskaya, with 67 people on board was being towed from the Kamchatka peninsula across the sea towards Sakhalin island when it got caught up in a storm, capsized and sank within 20 minutes on Sunday.

Fourteen crew members were rescued Sunday.

The federal sea and river agency said Monday that the bodies of 16 crew had been found, while the transport prosecutors put the death toll at 14.

© 2011 AFP

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