At least 54 people have died and 15 others are missing after a Russian fishing vessel sank off the Kamchatka Peninsula, according to Russia’s state-run Tass news agency.
More than 60 people were rescued Thursday from the chilly waters in Russia’s Far East.
The Dalniy Vostok freezer trawler — a commercial fishing vessel — was carrying 132 people, the ministry said.
Of the people on board, 78 were Russians. The 54 others were foreign nationals from Myanmar, Ukraine, Lithuania and Vanuatu, according to the news agency, with the majority coming from Myanmar.
More than 20 fishing vessels are searching for the 15 people still thought to be missing, Tass said.
The shipwreck was swift, with the trawler going down in the Sea of Okhotsk within 15 minutes of getting into difficulties, the news agency reported.
The most likely cause of the shipwreck was collision with an obstacle which damaged the hull, the official spokesman of Russia’s Investigative Committee, Vladimir Markin, is quoted as saying.
The trawler is also thought to have keeled over as a result of hauling some 80 tons of fish on to the deck, the chairman of the emergencies commission in the Kamchatka region, Sergey Khabarov, told Tass.