40 missing as freighter sinks off Lebanon
Lebanese and UN rescue teams stepped up the search yesterday for about 40 people still missing after a freighter sank in stormy seas off north Lebanon with 82 crew and passengers on board.
"The search is still ongoing on the site and in all the surroundings. But the weather is still very bad this morning," Andrea Tenenti, deputy spokesman of a UN peacekeeping force in Lebanon, told AFP.
A Lebanese military spokesman said 38 crew members had been found alive and four bodies recovered from the water after the Panamanian-flagged Danny F II, which was transporting livestock, sank in bad weather.
"We have recovered 42 people, among them four dead," he told AFP, speaking on condition of anonymity. The search operations had been widened to international waters near Syria.
Thirty survivors, soaking wet and wrapped in blankets, were ferried into the Lebanese port city of Tripoli on board UN boats, an AFP correspondent said. Another eight were helicoptered to land with extreme exhaustion.
The army spokesman said most of those stranded in the water should have managed to put on their life jackets before abandoning the ship but it was feared that high waves would sweep them further out to sea.