Six sailors saved after ship sinks off Lebanon

13/12/2009
Six sailors saved after ship sinks off Lebanon

Five crew members of a Togo-flagged ship that sank off Lebanon have been rescued by Israel, taking the total number of those saved to six, an Israeli military spokeswoman said on Saturday.

"Helicopters sent to the scene first found one survivor and then four more," the spokeswoman said, adding that the sailors from the Sala-2 were taken to hospital in Israel's northern port city of Haifa.

Earlier on Saturday, the defence ministry said 11 Ukrainian sailors were missing after the ship went down, and that the military had begun a rescue operation in conjunction with UN forces.

Andrea Tenenti, deputy spokesman of the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL) told AFP in Beirut that a distress signal had been received from the ship late on Friday.

"When a boat from the Turkish MTF (Maritime Task Force) arrived there, the vessel was already sinking. We saved one sailor," he said.
Six sailors from the 12-strong crew are still missing.

The ship had been heading from Greece towards Haifa and was 50 miles off the Lebanese coast when it sank, the Israeli military said.

A Lebanese military spokesman confirmed that the vessel went down in international waters, saying it sank "more than 70 miles off Naqura" on the Lebanon-Israel border.

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