Cyprus cop dies in SAR attempt

2010-03-16 22:04
The Russian yacht that capsized in rough seas near the coastal resort of Paphos. (Andreas Lazarou, AP Photo)

The Russian yacht that capsized in rough seas near the coastal resort of Paphos. (Andreas Lazarou, AP Photo) (Andreas Lazarou)

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Nicosia - A Cyprus marine police officer died on Tuesday during a search and rescue operation to save a Russian family whose yacht had capsized in rough seas off the island's coast, authorities said.

Andreas Georgiou, 30, was in a rubber craft with another officer looking for a Russian woman who was missing after the family's boat capsized off Paphos on the Mediterranean island's south western coast.

Police spokesperson Michalis Katsounotos said a high wave hit the dinghy, overturning it and throwing Georgiou into the water while his colleague, Kyriacos Theophanous managed to hold on to the craft's engine.

After being airlifted to Paphos general hospital, Georgiou was pronounced dead on arrival. He was married without children.

The search and rescue operation was launched after the Russian father swam ashore to raise the alarm saying his 31-year-old wife and two young children were on board the yacht that capsized some 200m away.

Police managed to save 10-month-old Sofia and three-year-old Alexei who were found on the boat that had washed to shore.

They had sailed from Turkey before getting into trouble when hitting rough seas and strong winds early on Tuesday, police said.

The mother is still missing and a police land and sea search of the area is continuing.

The two children and their father are being cared for at Paphos hospital where doctors say they are in good health, as is the other police officer.

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