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(2nd LD) S. Korean fishing vessel sinks off Antarctica, leaving 5 dead, 17 missing

All Headlines 15:52 December 13, 2010

(ATTN: UPDATES throughout with details)

SEOUL, Dec. 13 (Yonhap) -- A South Korean fishing vessel sank in waters off Antarctica Monday, leaving five crew members dead and 17 others missing, foreign ministry and Coast Guard officials said. Of eight South Koreans aboard, two were dead and five others were missing, they said.

The 614-ton "No. 1 In Sung" was carrying 42 people when it went down around 4:30 a.m. Korean time in waters some 2,600 kilometers off New Zealand, officials said. Other crew members included eight Chinese, 11 Indonesians, three Filipinos and one Russian, they said.

Five of the crew were found dead and 17 others are missing, while the other 20 have been rescued by nearby fishing boats, official said. Two of the dead and five of the missing were South Koreans, they said.

The dead Koreans were identified as Choi Eui-jong, 33, and Ha Jong-geun, 48. Identities of foreign victims were not immediately available.

Strong winds of some 20 meters per second and waves as high as five to six meters are hampering rescue operations, officials said.

The accident was first made known after a nearby fishing boat from South Korea alerted the coast guard in Busan. The In Sung No. 1 was in the area to catch Patagonian toothfish, a deep-sea species found in waters around Antarctica.

The Coast Guard has asked New Zealand for help in rescue operations, officials said.


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