A Russian fishing boat with a 19-person crew sank in the Barents Sea on Monday, the country’s Emergency Ministry said.

According to preliminary data, 17 people were killed and two were rescued by a vessel that was not far from the area of the accident, the ministry said in a statement.

The emergency services became aware of the situation when a rescue buoy was activated on the boat named Onega.

Currently, five vessels are searching for the rest of the crew. Bad weather conditions do not permit air rescue operations.

Investigators have opened a criminal case on violation of safety rules in the operation of sea and water transport. Icing is considered as the most likely cause of sinking.

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