Search for missing seamen continues off Cyprus

11 feared dead as ship s

helicopter ocean rescue IDF 248.88 (photo credit: IDF)
helicopter ocean rescue IDF 248.88
(photo credit: IDF)
The Israel Air Force and the Navy continued searches on Sunday morning for seven missing crewmen of an Israeli-owned trade ship that capsized off the coast of Cyprus overnight Friday. IAF helicopters evacuated five Ukrainian sailors who were found alive on a rescue raft to Haifa's Rambam Medical Center on Saturday evening. Another sailor was evacuated to a Beirut hospital. One of the six sailors who was evacuated to Israel had apparently spent the last 24 hours in the water, with only a life belt to prevent him from drowning. Dr. Shlomi Israeli, head of the emergency room at the Rambam Medical Center, told Army Radio that the sailor was in moderate condition, and was suffering from extreme fatigue and a low body temperature. Seven of the Salla 2's sailors were still missing and feared drowned. The IAF and Israel Navy were joined by UNIFIL and a British helicopter which was alerted from Cyprus in scanning the waters in search of the ship's remaining crew. It was not clear what caused the ship, carrying a cargo of raw material used in the production of bricks, to sink. The ship left a Greek port en route to Haifa, and issued a mayday call around 2 a.m. overnight Friday. An Italian search and rescue listening station intercepted the mayday call and alerted a Cypriot station, which then relayed the message to an Israeli station in Haifa. Benny Rosanzky, the manager of the Haifa station, alerted the air force and asked for assistance. The boat, owned by an Ashdod residen, was flying a Togolese flag of convenience, allegedly because it may have been purchased already in a bad state of repair. There were no Israeli crew members on board.