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Hopes Dim For Survivors Of Russian Oil Rig Disaster

December 19, 2011 by staff 

Hopes Dim For Survivors Of Russian Oil Rig DisasterHopes Dim For Survivors Of Russian Oil Rig Disaster, The bodies of 14 crew members from a sunken drilling rig were found off Russia’s far eastern island of Sakhalin Monday as hopes faded that 39 still missing could be pulled out of the icy waters alive.

The hunt for survivors from the Kolskaya rig that sank Sunday in the Okhotsk Sea went into a second day as rescue officials refused to declare that the missing were dead.

Fourteen people were rescued on Sunday and the operation continued through the night despite strong winds and waves around five metres (15 foot) high.

The platform with 67 people on board was being towed from the Kamchatka peninsula across the sea towards Sakhalin island when it capsized and sank within 20 minutes after being caught up in a storm.

“It felt like in a movie… it keeled over… everyone was climbing on to the stern,” one survivor, Sergei Grauman, said in televised remarks.

Officials released conflicting figures on the death toll Monday and the owner of the Kolskaya had claimed that rescuers had spotted a raft with around 15 possible survivors before backtracking.

“According to the most recent information, 14 dead have been found,” the federal sea and river agency said in a statement, revising an earlier toll of 16.

Transport prosecutors also put the death toll at 14, while the emergencies ministry said 11 bodies had been pulled out of the water.

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