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Ten border guards reportedly drowned when their boat capsized off Kunashir

January 25, 2014, 6:52 UTC+3 25
Their rubber boat capsized on the way to a border guard ship waiting for them 500 meters away from the shore
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© Itar-Tass

YUZHNO-SAKHALINSK, January 25 (Itar-Tass) - Ten border guards from the Sakhalin border guard office of the federal security agency FSB have reportedly drowned near the island of Kunashir, when their rubber boat capsized on the way to a border guard ship waiting for them 500 meters away from the shore.

“The incident happened at about 20:00 local time on January 24,” a source in Yuzhno-Kurilsk told Itar-Tass. “The boat was expected to take ten border guard office staff to a ship moored offshore. Waves caused the boat to capsize. Apparently, nobody survived. At this point it is unknown whether the people in the boat had life vests on.”

At the moment of the incident the waves were no more than one meter high. Certainly, there was no storm. The bodies of four passengers have been recovered and taken to a morgue in Yuzhno-Kurilsk. The six others are still missing. A search operation is on.

“A helicopter is hovering over the bay and several ships are exploring the area. The problem is local sea currents are strong and the bodies may have been carried far away.”

The chief of the emergency situations department of the Yuzhno-Kurilsk district declined to comment.

The press officer of the local border guard department in Yuzhno-Sakhalinsk, Alexei Melnikov, said the command had no comment to offer, either.

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