Russian fishing vessel sinks: report

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A Russian fishing boat with 11 crew sank Friday off the eastern Sakhalin Island shortly after sending a distress signal, Interfax quoted a federal fisheries agency official as saying.

A rescue team was searching for the vessel in the icy waters, the report said, adding that the crew did not seem able to deploy their life rafts on time.

"Attention, attention: whoever can hear me," the agency quoted the last radio dispatch from the Partner schooner as saying.

"Partner -- suffering distress," said the captain. "We are going under. Only one of the life rafts deployed, and even that one did not do so correctly."

Two Russian vessels and an An-24 jet were sent on a search and rescue mission, which was being staged amid unusually fierce storms that have seen wind gusts of up to 65 miles per hour (105 kilometers per hour), the report said.

© 2011 AFP

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