HAMILTON, Bermuda (AP) -- Survivors from a cargo ship that sank in the mid-Atlantic told rescuers that an enclosed life raft filled with crewmen was still attached to the vessel's hull when it slid under the water.
''They believe that when the boat went down, (the crew members) went down with it,'' Capt. Trent Rowlett, a Canadian helicopter navigator, said of the raft.
''It obviously went down quick,'' said Rowlett, who was part of a helicopter crew that hoisted four of 13 survivors to safety in daring rough-water rescues.
Canadian and U.S. military vessels ended their search Friday evening for a dozen missing crew members from the Leader L, a 776-foot bulk carrier that had 31 people on board when it sank late Thursday in heavy seas 400 miles northeast of Bermuda.
Earlier Friday, 13 sailors from the ship were rescued in a dramatic operation, with Canadian and U.S. aircraft dropping life rafts to survivors bobbing in the sea. Six bodies were recovered from the ship,.
The ship sank after the Leader L placed a distress call saying that a 45-foot steel hull plate had come loose and water was flooding into the hold.
Rowlett said the four survivors recovered by his helicopter told them the ship went down so quickly few people had time to scramble into life rafts.
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