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11 Turkish sailors dead or missing

Three sailors are died and eight are missing after a Turkish ship collided with a passenger ferry and sank in the Adriatic, Albanian port authorities said on Thursday.

Sailing under a Maltese flag and loaded with aluminum, the 3,000-ton Reina 1, whose owner and crew were Turkish, sank immediately after the collision with the car ferry Ankara in international waters. The collision occurred around 2 a.m. 20 miles from the Albanian port of Durres.

One body was taken aboard the ferry, while two others have been have not yet been recovered due to rough seas, ports head Edmond Doraci told AP by telephone. Two sailors were rescued.

“It took only two minutes for the ship to go down,” Soytürk said. The two survivors were in good health, according to hospital personnel in Durres. The rest of the crew was missing and officials were increasingly concerned about their lives.

“We have found only life jackets and the ship’s safety boat,” the Albanian coastguard’s deputy commander, Artur Mecollari, told Reuters by phone. “The collision right in the middle of the ship has been fatal. It sunk in nine minutes.”

A team of experts will begin an investigation into the cause of the accident. The Cihan news agency in Tirana reported that Albanian officials recalled the search party in the area, signaling the end of hope for the lives of the missing crew members.

“The ship stopped for a moment, then sank in a short time. I saw five crew members on the ship, compressed air came out as we were sinking,” Soytürk said from his hospital bed.

“Everything happened suddenly. I hope our friends survive. About three, four crew members must have got out of the ship. I hope they are found,” he added. An Albanian coastguard ship as well as port rescue boats, an Italian vessel of the Guardia di Finanza and an Albanian army helicopter were deployed in the rescue mission.