More than 50 people were feared dead on Sunday after a mobile oil-drilling platform capsized and sunk during stormy weather in the Sea of Okhotsk off Russia’s east coast.
The Kolskaya platform was being towed by an icebreaker and a tugboat to the island of Sakhalin at the time with 67 crew on board when it was caught in a bad storm.
Emergency officials said the platform was pounded by waves up to 20 feet high that crashed through its portholes, sending water flooding into the crew’s dining area.
The rig quickly filled with seawater, capsized and sunk within 20 minutes with strong waves reportedly sweeping away the life rafts before the crew could disembark. Two of the rafts were later found empty.
The temperature of the water was apparently zero degrees Celsius at the time with high winds making survival even harder.
A helicopter was dispatched to airlift the crew off the stricken rig after receiving an SOS call. But by the time it got there the rig had already sunk and the crew were in the icy water.