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Large Fishing Vessel Sinks Off Red Sea Coast, Killing 13 - 2002-01-12

At least 13 people are reported dead and a search is continuing for at least 26 missing crewmembers of a large fishing vessel that went down off the Red Sea coast of Egypt.

Authorities were unclear as to what caused the Abu El Fawres to capsize and sink Friday. It went down 32 kilometers off the coast of Ras Gharib, which is located in an oil-rich area south of the Suez Canal, about 270 kilometers from Cairo.

One employee of the Egyptian General Petroleum Corporation suspects the boat struck coral reefs. The employee, who monitors radio traffic at sea, said high wind and bad weather might have contributed to the disaster.

The vessel had been fishing in the area for a few days. Authorities said no distress signals were received said.

Two crewmembers were rescued by another fishing boat and taken to a hospital. Police were questioning the survivors.

With the help of planes owned by oil companies based in the area, the Egyptian navy continued searching for the missing.