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Three found unconscious in fire on fleeing Chinese fishing boat

All News 16:30 September 29, 2016

MOKPO, South Korea, Sept. 29 (Yonhap) -- A blaze took place on a Chinese fishing boat which was escaping the Korean Coast Guard's inspection inside the western South Korean territorial waters on Thursday, leaving three crew members there unconscious, the country's coast guard said.

"The fire broke out in the engine room of the 120-ton-class Chinese fishing boat at around 9:45 a.m., Thursday, on seas 70 kilometers southeast of Hongdo Island off Mokpo, 410 kilometers south of Seoul, which belong to the country's Exclusive Economic Zone," the Mokpo Coast Guard said.

The police said the coast guard has rescued 14 of the 17 crew members from the blazing ship, but found the remaining three knocked out, not breathing and without a pulse.

The fire occurred when the ship, only identified as "S," was fleeing to escape the coast guard's inspection to confirm whether the ship has a license to fish inside the South Korean EEZ and whether it observed its fishing quota, according to the police.

Upon witnessing the blazing, the coast guard moved the 14 fishermen to its patrol boat while putting out the fire, and found the three other crewmen lying down near the engine room, police said.

"The unidentified three are currently under treatment on the patrol boat but show no signs of breathing or a pulse," the police said.

Although the fire has been almost extinguished as of 11:00 a.m., work to put out it is still under way as smoke keeps coming out of the engine room, according to it.

Investigations are going on why the boat fled, the origin of the fire and how the three become unconscious, police added.

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