- The cargo ship was carrying a load of scrap metal
- 11 crew members were on board
- Europe and Eastern Europe have been in the grip of a cold spell
Turkish authorities have scrambled divers, helicopters and coast guard ships in an effort to find and rescue eight crew members missing after a cargo ship sank in a storm off Turkey's Black Sea coast Tuesday night.
An official from Turkey's transportation ministry, speaking on condition of anonymity according to Turkish bureaucratic custom, told CNN the Cambodian-flagged ship Vera sank "due to bad weather conditions" after it anchored off the coast of the Turkish town of Eregli.
Three members of the 11-person crew were rescued after the ship initially went under, authorities said. Ten Ukrainians and a Georgian crewed the ship, which departed from the Russian port of Rostov carrying a load of scrap metal.
For several days, unusually cold weather and snow have slammed central and western Turkey, as well as other regions of Europe and Eastern Europe.
In Istanbul, Turkey's largest city, the municipality mobilized more than 2,400 personnel and some 870 vehicles to try to keep roads open, as snow reached depths of up to 47 centimeters (1.5 feet).
The unusual snowfall forced the cancellation and delay of scores of flights, as visibility was occasionally reduced to less than 50 meters mid-morning Wednesday. Istanbul also suspended its high-speed sea bus service, which ferries passengers up and down the Bosphorus Strait and stretches of the Marmara Sea.
According to the Istanbul municipality's website, at least 378 homeless citizens have been brought to shelters and hotels to escape the freezing temperatures.