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Twelve Russian Fishermen Rescued

October 19, 2000

VLADIVOSTOK, Russia (AP) _ Twelve Russian crewmen were plucked from a raft on high seas Thursday after their fishing trawler capsized in a storm near Japan with 20 people on board, emergency officials said.

There was still hope for the other crew members: Flashes of light spotted from a plane appeared to be signals from a second raft, said Anatoly Rogachev, an official with the Vladivostok Rescue Center.

The trawler stalled after a towering wave flooded its engine room, according to a distress signal. The boat then listed and sank before dawn Thursday in the Pacific Ocean east of Iturup Island in Russia’s Southern Kuril chain, Rogachev said.

After drifting for hours in waves up to 21 feet high, the 12 crew members were taken aboard another Russian trawler that was searching for survivors, he said.

A Japanese patrol boat was also helping with the rescue effort near the Kuril Islands, a source of rancor between Moscow and Tokyo since Russia seized them from Japan at the end of World War II.

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