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Liberia aid ship sinks in storm

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MONROVIA, Liberia -- An aid ship carrying emergency relief supplies to war-stricken Liberia sank off neighboring Sierra Leone at the weekend but the crew managed to swim ashore, aid workers say.

Rich Moseanko, spokesman for U.S.-based aid organization World Vision, told CNN the Madame Patricia was carrying $86,000 worth of relief supplies when it ran into a severe storm shortly after leaving Sierra Leone's capital Freetown on Saturday night.

"The crew battled the storm for about 10 hours before the ship broke up and hit a sand bar," he said.

Moseanko said the crew of 20 plus two people working for the company which supplied the goods eventually abandoned the ship and swam ashore.

"They all had to swim about 10 kilometers to shore, where later this afternoon, they were rescued," he said.

"It appears the cargo is lost, we had thought at one point we might be able to salvage it."

The cargo included blankets, sleeping mats, water containers and power generators.

Moseanko said the brother of one of those on board began to worry about the ship and hired a helicopter to mount a search, eventually finding them on the Atlantic shore.

He said World Vision intended to bring in an aircraft with supples from one of the agency's warehouses in Europe "because the need for it is still so great."

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