Dozens of passengers and crew members leapt into lifeboats Thursday and fled a Turkish ship in the Black Sea after a fire broke out on board, a Russian emergency official said.
Russian authorities received an SOS signal from the ship at 5:15 p.m. Moscow time (1315GMT) and sent a rescue vessel, one of two that was headed for the area, Emergency Situations Ministry spokesman Sergei Vlasov said.
He said the ministry believed that all 55 people on board 32 passengers and 23 crew had left the ship and were in lifeboats or rafts.
When the signal came in, the ship was about 80 miles (128 kilometers) off the Russian city of Sochi, in waters for which Georgia is responsible, and was headed toward Turkey, Vlasov said, reports the AP.
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