The Azerbaijani coast guard says it has rescued several Iranian sailors who showed symptoms of chemical poisoning after receiving a distress signal on the Caspian Sea.
A spokesman for Azerbaijan's Health Ministry, Parviz Abubekirov, said on October 19 that after their rescue, three of the sailors died.
Abubekirov said that the coast guard had received an SOS signal from the Nazmehr cargo ship, which was carrying wheat from the Kazakh port city of Aqtau to the Azerbaijani capital of Baku.
The signal was received minutes after midnight on October 19 and the Iranian vessel was located not far from Pirallahi Island, several kilometers off the coast.
According to the preliminary diagnosis, the sailors were poisoned by a chemical used to preserve the wheat, Abubekirov said.
Seven Iranian sailors remain hospitalized. The captain of the ship refused hospitalization, Abubekirov said.