At least seven killed after Russian oil rig capsizes


Click to follow
The Independent Online

At least seven men have died and scores are feared dead after a floating oil rig off Russia's east coast capsized and sank, officials said.

A spokeswoman for the emergencies ministry said today that rescue workers have pulled out seven bodies, while 46 men remain missing.

Fourteen people were plucked alive from the icy waters immediately after the accident. The search operation has been hampered by a fierce storm in the area.

This could be the deadliest offshore oil accident in Russia, which produces most of its oil onshore.

The oil platform capsized on Sunday morning as it was being towed about 120 miles off the coast of Sakhalin Island amid a fierce storm.

Although chances for survival are negligible, rescuers are continuing to search for the missing men.

The transportation ministry said the platform started sinking after a strong wave broke some of its equipment and portholes in the crew's dining room.

An investigative committee yesterday opened a probe into the accident and said that it might have happened because of a breach of safety regulations or due to the weather conditions.

There were no reports of environmental damage and it would be unlikely since the platform was not drilling for oil when it capsized.