Russia Oil Rig Accident
December 19, 2011 by staff
Russia Oil Rig Accident, Time appeared to be running out to rescue 39 people still missing more than a day after an oil rig capsized and sank in stormy, freezing waters off the eastern coast of Russia.
The owner of the rig said life rafts with people aboard were spotted in the Sea of Okhotsk, but the government would not confirm the report. The chances of survival in the 1 degree Celsius (33.9 Fahrenheit) water appeared slim.
Of the 67 men aboard, 14 were plucked alive from the icy water immediately after the accident and taken to a hospital. Workers have since pulled out 10 bodies from the Sea of Okhotsk, and there are four more bodies that haven’t been retrieved yet, the Emergencies Ministry said.
The Kolskaya floating platform was being towed back to port in a fierce storm when a strong wave broke some of its equipment and portholes in the crew’s dining room, and it started sinking in the choppy water.
One of the survivors, Sergei Grauman, said on Russian state television that the platform’s portholes were smashed in a second and the crew had struggled to fix them.
“Everyone rushed to the deck,” he told the First Channel station. “It all felt like a movie.”
An official at the rig’s owner Arktikmorneftegazrazvedka, who asked not to be named because the offshore oil exploration firm is not authorized to comment on the rescue operation, told The Associated Press that rescue vessels have spotted four rafts with people aboard, but it was not clear if they were alive or not.
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