A desperate search is underway for 17 fishermen after their boat sank in perilous Arctic waters.
Two men were rescued from the Onega which sank off the Novaya Zemlya archipelago in Russia‘s far north this morning.
The boat went down at 7am local time, reportedly sinking under its own weight after becoming ‘caked with ice’.
The two men rescued so far were plucked from the Barents Sea whose waters were a frigid minus 30C (-22F).
Russia’s emergencies ministry said the boat’s crew consisted of 19 members.
A search and rescue operation is being conducted in treacherous conditions, with hopes fading for the missing men in rough sea and high winds.
‘Most likely, all the 17 people died. They have not been found yet,’ a ministry spokesman said.
The weather was reportedly too bad for a helicopter to be flown to assist with search and rescue efforts.
Online news outlet Mash said the Russian-flagged vessel, built in 1979, sank as it attempted to raise a net with a catch.
Another fishing boat, the Voykovo, was able to pull two fishermen from the icy waters after arriving at the scene.
The pair wore wet suits and were clutching the body of another crew member, which was washed away as the survivors were raised on board.
The waves which carried the corpse away were reportedly as high as 10ft.
The two men were said to be in a satisfactory condition following the ordeal.
A criminal case has been opened by Russian transport investigators into the sinking of the vessel, which has a home port at the Arctic city of Murmansk.