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'Lake Baikal: the very name fills Russian hearts with awe'
Mike Carter, The Observer

Relatives face new anguish over lost sailors as sea freezes at wreck site

By The Siberian Times reporter
24 November 2012

Eight seamen from the sunken Amuerskaya freighter remain missing from the gold carrying freighter which sank in a storm in late October.

A plane manned by rescue experts is due to fly over the site on Sunday to assess the prospects of resuming an underwater search of the vessel. Picture:

Attempts to renew dives at the site of the wreck have failed due to 'pancake ice' forming in the Sea of Okhotsk.

A plane manned by rescue experts is due to fly over the site on Sunday to assess the prospects of resuming an underwater search of the vessel, on which only one body has been found so far. 

The fear is that further dives may not be possible until the ice melts next year. 

This would mean an agonising wait for relatives of the crew of nine who have already endured almost one month without definite news of their loved ones after the Amurskaya went to sea in controversial circumstances - overloaded with gold ore and in atrocious weather conditions.

'The danger of ice formation is rising daily,' reported Rossiyskaya Gazeta.

The Rubin rescue boat remains in the area with divers on board but poor weather has prevented them diving to the vessel which lies 25 metres underwater. 

As well as gathering ice, there are waves of up to two metres high and strong wind gusts. 

The Sunday flight will assess the safety of continuing to dive at the site. 

'If they consider the ice to be a threat to the rescue boat,  the search for the sailors will have to be halted,' a source told the newspaper. 

In another blow to the relatives, the wreckage of a life raft found in the area cannot be definitely linked to the Amurskaya. 

Rescuers say it is likely life rafts were used, yet there is surprise that no wreckage has been found. 

Some 30,000 kilometres of sea - including coastal areas - have been checked by rescuers but so far with no single clue as to the fate of the nine men who went to sea on 28 October. An automatic Mayday signal was transmitted as the ship took on water. 

Comments (1)

I heard Rubin left the site today...
Michel, France
25/11/2012 22:51

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