Bodies of 4 Turkish sailors reach Istanbul

Bodies of 4 Turkish sailors reach Istanbul

Bodies of 4 Turkish sailors reach Istanbul

The bodies of four Turkish sailors, who died on two ships which caught fire in the Kerch Strait, have arrived in Istanbul by plane.

Relatives of sailors waiting to take the bodies that were brought from Moscow to Istanbul Atatürk Airport on Jan. 28, expressed their anger at the shipping company.

The ships caught fire on Jan. 21 while passing through the Kerch Strait -- separating Crimea from mainland Russia -- killing 12 out of 32 members of the crew.

The fire erupted when one ship was transferring fuel to the other, sending both crews into the ocean to escape the blaze.

A total of 16 Turkish sailors were aboard at the moment of incident, according to the Turkish Foreign Ministry. Four of them were killed in the fire, while eight others were rescued and four more remain missing.

According to Russian data, a total of 32 sailors -- Turkish and Indian citizens -- were on the two vessels when the fire started, leaving 12 dead, 10 rescued and 10 missing.

A spokesperson for the Russian Transport Ministry previously said there is little hope of finding any other survivors.

The strait, located between Russian-annexed Crimea and southern Russia, controls access from the Black Sea to the Azov Sea, which has Ukrainian and Russian ports.