A Russian offshore drilling rig has capsized in the Sea of Okhotsk northeast of China.
RUSSIAN STATE TV/file
A Russian offshore drilling rig has capsized in the Sea of Okhotsk northeast of China.

Story highlights

NEW: The bodies bring the death toll to 16

67 people were aboard the oil rig when it capsized Sunday

It happened in the Sea of Okhotsk in the north Pacific

CNN —  

Authorities are adding more aircraft Tuesday to help in the search for victims from a Russian oil rig that collapsed in freezing north Pacific waters, a Russian news agency reported.

That brings the total number of dead from the Sunday disaster to 16, according to the state news agency RIA-Novosti.

There were 67 people aboard the offshore drilling rig when it capsized during a storm in the Sea of Okhotsk, which lies between the Kamchatka peninsula and the Russian mainland, north of Japan. The rig was being towed from Kamchatka at the time, RIA-Novosti reported.

Fourteen people have been rescued and 37 others remain missing, the news agency said.

The director of the company that owns the rig, Arktikmorneftegazrazvedka, promised at least 3 million rubles ($93,640) in compensation to each crewmember’s family.

The rig was carrying out work under a contract with Russian energy giant Gazprom, the news agency said. It was drilling a well about 3,500 meters (11,480 feet) deep, RIA-Novosti said.

Taimuraz Kasayev, a spokesman for the regional emergencies service, told RIA-Novosti on Sunday the accident poses no environmental danger because the rig’s fuel stocks were hermetically sealed and would not spill.

The television channel Russia Today reported that the rig was being towed into position when pumps failed, causing it to take on water and sink.