Blazing Iranian oil tanker sinks with no sign of survivors
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Blazing Iranian oil tanker sinks with no sign of survivors

Iranian rescue team believes explosion and release of gas killed all personnel within first hour after collision with freighter in East China Sea

In this image made from video run by China's CCTV, a rescue ship sprays water to put out a blaze at the Panama-registered tanker "Sanchi" after a collision with a Hong Kong-registered freighter off China's eastern coast, January 8, 2017. (CCTV via AP Video)
In this image made from video run by China's CCTV, a rescue ship sprays water to put out a blaze at the Panama-registered tanker "Sanchi" after a collision with a Hong Kong-registered freighter off China's eastern coast, January 8, 2017. (CCTV via AP Video)

BEIJING AND TEHRAN — An Iranian oil tanker which has been on fire off the coast of China for more than a week sank Sunday, after an Iranian official announced that there was no chance any crew members among the 32 on board had survived.

“There is no hope of finding survivors among the members of the crew,” Mohammad Rastad, spokesman for the Iranian rescue team dispatched to Shanghai, told Iran’s state broadcaster.

The Sanchi, carrying 136,000 tons of light crude oil from Iran, had been in flames since colliding with the CF Crystal, a Hong Kong-registered bulk freighter, 160 nautical miles east of Shanghai on January 6.

It remains unclear whether there has been a significant oil leak into the sea.

Rastad said information from members of the Crystal crew suggested all the personnel on the Sanchi were killed in the first hour of the accident “due to the explosion and the release of gas.”

“Despite our efforts, it has not been possible to extinguish the fire and recover the bodies due to repeated explosions and gas leaks,” he said.

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