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IDF Rescues Ukrainian Crew on Sinking Ship

The Israeli Navy and Air Force rescued a crew of 11 Ukrainians whose ship began sinking in a savage winter storm eight miles off Israel’s coast.
By Tzvi Ben Gedalyahu
First Publish: 12/12/2010, 10:32 AM / Last Update: 12/12/2010, 10:39 AM

The Israeli Navy and Air Force rescued a crew of 11 Ukrainians whose ship began sinking in a savage winter storm Sunday morning on the Mediterranean Sea eight miles west off the Israeli port of Ashdod.

The Moldovan vessel, carrying more than 3,000 tons of metal, was headed towards Ashdod when the ship‘s captain reported water entering the ship, which was rocked by 30-foot high waves in gale force winds of more than 100 kilometers (65 miles) an hour.

Some of the crew had jumped into the sea, but no one required medical care. A Taiwanese crew, also in the area, participated in the rescue operation.  

A Turkish ship also is waiting for help after reporting that it is running out of fuel.

In Netanya, rescue teams are resuming their search for a Russian tourist who has been missing since Saturday and was seen on the seashore there.

The first serious winter storm began Friday, dropping much-needed rain on the north but so far leaving Jerusalem with only a trace of precipitation and bringing blinding sandstorms to the northern Negev and the capital city.

The strong winds broke windows throughout the country and ripped hundreds of trees from their roots, which fell in the street and damaged vehicles. In Tel Aviv, a pier was wrecked, and the heavy winds and rain destroyed several stores and restaurants. Thousands of residents of metropolitan Tel Aviv were temporarily without electricity because of falling branches.

The storm is expected to drop 4-8 inches of rain on the north before dissipating late Monday. So far, less than two inches of rain have fallen in the north, and nearly 10 inches of snow has fallen on the Hermon mountains. The rain is expected to reach Jerusalem and the northern Negev by Monday.

Weather forecasters predict that the skies will clear and temperatures will rise after Tuesday, but another storm may bring more much-needed rain to Israel Friday night.