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Three survivors from rig airlifted by helicopter from icebreaker

December 20, 2011, 11:01 UTC+3

The search and rescue operation is continuing in the sea

1 pages in this article
Screenshot Channel Russia 24

Screenshot Channel Russia 24

KHABAROVSK, VLADIVOSTOK, December 20 (Itar-Tass) —— The three survivors from the Kolskaya drilling rig who were aboard the Magadan icebreaker were taken by an EMERCOM Mi-8 helicopter to Yuzhno-Sakhalinsk on Tuesday, a source at the Emergencies Ministry's Far Eastern regional centre told Itar-Tass.

All the rest are already on Sakhalin Island. Four of them are in a hospital in the settlement of Nogliki, and seven aboard the Neftegaz-55 tugboat arrived in Korsakov on Tuesday.

The search and rescue operation is continuing in the sea. It is being conducted by three ships, two Mi-8 helicopters and an An-74 plane.

The ships and aircraft have examined about 2,500 square miles. Fourteen people have been rescued, other 14 died, and 39 are missing.

The icebreaker Magadan and the vessel Smith Sakhalin were participating in the operation at 15:00 Sakhalin time (08:00 Moscow time) this Tuesday. The rescue vessel Atlas is expected to arrive at the site on December 21.

The Neftegaz-55 tugboat, which participated in the search earlier, carried seven survivors to Korsakov on Tuesday. After medical examination, the people will be under EMERCOM psychologists' care. Later they will return home.

The weather conditions are rather good this Tuesday for the search operation – one-metre waves and a wind of 7-10 m/sec. The weather is expected to worsen on December 23.

An An-74 plane of the Far Eastern regional air rescue centre flew over the area on Tuesday. Two Mi-8 helicopters of the Emergencies Ministry and the Aviashelf company also work in the air.

An operational headquarters is working in the Emergencies Ministry's Sakhalin regional crisis management centre to collect information from the site. The operation is coordinated by the Yuzhno-Sakhalinsk sea rescue centre of the Russian Transport Ministry. EMERCOM hotlines are opened in the Sakhalin, Murmansk and Magadan regions.

The drilling platform Kolskaya capsized and sank in the Sea of Okhotsk on December 18 when it was towed in storm. Out of the 67 people aboard, 14 were rescued and 14 died. The fate of the others is unknown. Nine of the recovered eleven bodies are indentified.

The rig was registered in the port of Murmansk. The owner is the Arctic sea oil and gas exploration company.

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