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20 crew members rescued from sunken Romanian ship

June 14, 1997

DURBAN, South Africa (AP) _ A Romanian cargo vessel sank in heavy seas off the South African coast Friday, and rescuers airlifted 20 crew members to safety.

A search for one missing crewman was called off late Friday due to 42-foot waves and poor visibility, said Air Force Lt. Col. Laverne Machine.

The Calarasi was carrying 21 crew members, according to a distress signal sent from the vessel before it went under early Friday, Machine said.

Air Force planes that spotted crew members floating in a lifeboat and a helicopter hoisted them to safety, officials said.

Waters off South Africa’s southeast coast have claimed many ships over the years, earning the region the name of the Wild Coast. In 1991, more than 500 passengers and crew members were rescued from a sinking ocean liner.

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