Israel retrieves bodies of missing sailors
( Reuters ) - Israeli forces retrieved the bodies on Friday of two sailors declared missing off the coast of Haifa after an Israeli freighter sank following a collision with a Cypriot cruise ship, the army said.
The forces had rescued 11 crew from the "Shelly" cargo vessel, which sank in Thursday's collision and was en route to Cyprus. Israel Radio said the men who died were from Slovakia. They hav not yet been identified.
"Navy divers are retrieving the bodies of the missing," an Israeli army spokesman said. "The divers dived to a depth of 20 metres ( 65 feet) to complete the task".
Some 700 passengers and crew of the "Salamis Glory" cruise ship were unharmed by the collision near the northern port of Haifa and the vessel remains docked.
"Passengers (on board of Salamis Glory) will be flown to Cyprus on Friday", George Michalides, spokesman of cruise company Salamis Lines, told Reuters.
Israeli authorities are investigating the cause of the collision.
"A passenger ship was sailing out of the harbour and at the entrance of the port, about three kilometres out, hit a docked vessel," said Brigadier-General Ram Rutberg, commander of a navy base in Haifa whose forces are involved in the rescue efforts.