Two dead as coal ship in distress off of Turkey's Black Sea coast

Medics carry a sailor who is survived by members of Turkish Coast Guard Command, upon his arrival at a local airport in Samsun, Turkey January 7, 2019. Yaprak Kocer/Demiroren News Agency (DHA) via REUTERS

ISTANBUL (Reuters) - Two people died and another four were missing on Monday after a ship carrying coal sent a distress signal off the northern coast of Turkey, the coast guard and the local governor’s office said.

The Panama-flagged vessel, which departed from Russia’s Azov port, sent out a distress signal around 148 kilometers (92 miles) off the northeastern Black Sea province of Samsun, the coast guard said.

Thirteen crew members were on the bulk carrier including nine Ukraine nationals, two Azerbaijan nationals and two Russians, the Samsun governor’s office said.

The coast guard said the distress signal was received regarding a “possible sinking” of the ship.

Seven members of the crew had been rescued so far while a search and rescue operation continued for the other four, the coast guard said. The operation was being carried out by a plane, two helicopters and two boats, it said, adding that one airforce helicopter was also joining as back-up.

Writing by Ezgi Erkoyun; Editing by David Dolan