Three crew members of the trawler Hallgrímur SI-77 are presumed dead after the ship sank 150 nautical miles northwest of Ålesund, Norway, yesterday. There was a fierce storm in the area with waves reaching 15 meters and a 70 knot wind.
The Icelandic Coast Guard practices rescue at sea. Archive photo by Páll Stefánsson.
A fourth crew member, who is 34, was saved from the ocean by a helicopter from the Norwegian Air Force, Morgunblaðið reports.
All four men are Icelandic. According to Jan Lillebø, director of the search and rescue center in south Norway, the men who are missing are aged around 60.
The trawler headed off from Siglufjörður in north Iceland on Saturday afternoon; it had been sold as scrap iron to Norway.
An automatic emergency call was transmitted from the ship to the search and rescue center at 1:14 pm yesterday. Two helicopters were sent to the scene and arrived at 4:30 pm.
A half an hour later one of the crew members was found in the ocean; he was wearing a floatation suit and is considered to be in good health given the circumstances.
Due to how quickly the ship disappeared from the surveillance system it is believed to have sunk rapidly and the survivor may have been in the ocean for more than three hours.
Search and rescuers found an empty life raft and debris from the ship which confirmed that it had sunk.
The helicopters were able to search for 30-45 minutes before they had to return. An Orion search plane and a ship that was nearby also participated in the search. It was called off at 9 pm at which point the weather had worsened considerably.