Two missing in rough sea

Rescue teams battled gale-force winds late yesterday to search for two crew members of a Cambodian-flagged freight vessel that had gone missing after the ship sank off the northern Sporades Islands in the Aegean Sea. Fourteen members from the crew of 16 were pulled to safety after they abandoned their sinking ship in inflatable life rafts, the Merchant Marine Ministry said. The nine Turks, two Romanians and three Azerbaijanis were unharmed. Authorities said one man fell into the water as he tried to climb into the inflatable raft while the other crew member was knocked out of the raft by the massive waves. Two helicopters, a frigate and two other navy vessels were involved in the rescue operation in what authorities described as difficult conditions. Winds reached speeds of 11 Beaufort, snowstorms lashed the area and low clouds obscured visibility, preventing rescue teams from approaching the A AKIF vessel when it first sent out a distress call at 1.15 a.m. yesterday.

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