Greece: the sinking of a cargo ship leaves one dead, a vast operation to rescue 12 people

The sinking of a cargo ship off the Greek island of Lesvos in the Aegean Sea on Sunday left one person dead and a vast rescue operation is still underway to try to rescue 12 members of the crew of this ship, in an area swept by violent winds. The body of a man was located and transported to the port of Mytilene, capital of Lesvos, the Greek coast guard announced in a press release.

Earlier today, despite strong winds in the area, one of the crew members was able to be rescued by a navy helicopter and transported to Lesvos hospital. “He is in a state of shock,” Nikos Alexiou, coast guard spokesperson, told AFP, without giving further details. Fourteen people were on board the “RAPTOR”, a 106 meter long cargo ship flying the Comoros flag, when it reported mechanical damage at 7 a.m. before activating the distress signal about an hour later and disappearing from radar, according to the authorities.

Water seeped into the cargo ship

According to the website of the public channel Ert News, the survivor of Egyptian origin was found floating on a barrel and, despite a head injury, is in good health. The fate of the remaining 12 crew members is unknown at this stage. The rescue operation mobilizes eight boats, three coast guard vessels, two navy and air force helicopters and a navy frigate.

According to authorities, the “RAPTOR” was carrying cargoes of salt and had departed from the port of Dekheila in northern Egypt, with Istanbul as its final destination. This ship built in 1984 sank about 4.5 nautical miles (8.3 km) southwest of the island of Lesbos, according to authorities.

The crew included two Syrians, one Indian and eleven Egyptians, according to the Greek news agency ANA, citing the Lebanon-based company that operates the cargo ship. A previous press release from the coast guard had reported four Indians and eight Egyptians. According to the ANA agency, water massively infiltrated the “RAPTOR” due to very strong waves while the cargo ship was already ballasted by its heavy cargo, causing its sinking. In several parts of Greece, boats remained docked this weekend due to strong winds reaching 9-10 on the Beaufort scale, which goes up to 12.

Extreme climatic phenomena

For this weekend, the Greek meteorological services had issued an alert which was raised on Saturday to reach the level of “dangerous climatic phenomenon” as the storm Oliver, also called Bettina, moves from the Adriatic Sea towards Greece. In mid-November, violent winds in Greece damaged a warship used during the resistance to the junta in power from 1967 to 1974. In recent months, the country has also been hit by extreme weather phenomena, with floods and a series of storms.

At the beginning of September, Greece and in particular Thessaly, an agricultural region in the center of the country, were plagued by torrential rains carried by storm Daniel, which killed 17 people and tens of thousands of animals and destroyed villages. whole.

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