North West Wales

Search for missing crew of Swanland ship called off

Vitaliy Karpenko and Roman Savin
Image caption Vitaliy Karpenko (left) and Roman Savin are the only two crew members to have been picked up alive

The search for five missing Russian sailors whose ship sank off the Gwynedd coast has been called off.

Their cargo vessel MV Swanland went down in the Irish Sea off the Lleyn peninsula at the weekend after being hit by a huge wave.

Two seamen were rescued and the body of one crew member has already been recovered.

The Russian ambassador has written to helicopter co-pilot Prince William to thank him and the crew.

The extensive air and sea search was stood down on Monday afternoon.

The Maritime and Coastguard Agency said that as items and debris were washed up, they would be investigated.

The missing crew have been named as captain Yury Shmelev, 44, chief engineer Gennadiy Meshkov, 52, second engineer Mikhail Starchevoy, 60, able seaman Sergey Kharchenko, 51, and ship's cook Oleg Andriets, 49.

Chief officer Leonid Safonov, 50, was pronounced dead after his body was recovered from the sea shortly afterwards.

Roman Savin, 26, and Vitaliy Karpenko, 48, were airlifted to safety by an RAF helicopter co-piloted by the Duke of Cambridge in the early hours of Sunday.

They thanked their rescuers on Monday, saying they appreciated how dangerous the conditions were.

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