Iran: 8 of 13 trapped divers are dead

AP News
Posted: Oct 23, 2011 9:40 AM
Iran: 8 of 13 trapped divers are dead

Eight divers trapped underwater with five others after their support ship sank three days ago in the Persian Gulf have died, Iran's official news agency reported Sunday.

Mohammad Rastad, an official in charge of the rescue operation, said the bodies of the eight divers, six of them Indians, have been recovered. He said there is no word about the fate of the remaining five missing divers.

Out of 73 people on board, 60 were rescued.

He said six bodies were found earlier.

"Bodies of two more divers have been recovered from the depth of 72 meters," IRNA quoted Rastad as saying.

The divers _ seven Indians, five Iranians and one Ukrainian _ were part of a team installing an underwater oil pipeline and were inside a pressurized diving chamber when their Koosha-1 ship sank in the Persian Gulf on Thursday afternoon in stormy seas.

The diving chamber was on board the ship when it sank, and the divers were already inside to avoid having to pressurize and depressurize for their dives.

The Iran-flagged Koosha-1 left Thursday from offshore oil rigs near the underwater South Pars gas field, the largest in the world, shared by both Iran and Qatar. The ship was involved in installing underwater pipelines.

It sank in the Persian Gulf about 15 miles (25 kilometers) off Iran's coast.