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(3rd LD) Chinese fishing boat sinks off S. Korea's west coast, leaving at least 1 dead, 2 missing

National 17:07 October 20, 2021

(ATTN: RECASTS headline, lead; UPDATES throughout with latest findings)

GUNSAN, South Korea, Oct. 20 (Yonhap) -- A Chinese fishing boat capsized in waters off the southwestern city of Gunsan on Wednesday, leaving at least one crew member dead and two others missing, Coast Guard officials said.

The 239-ton vessel capsized shortly after midnight in waters 124 kilometers southwest of Gunsan's Eocheong Island, officials said.

Of the 15 crewmen aboard the ship, eight have been rescued by the Coast Guard and another Chinese boat that was fishing alongside the capsized vessel.

Four more crewmen were later found adrift on the sea and rescued, but three of them were unconscious, officials said. The other was in stable condition.

Rescuers also found one crew member dead in the fishing nets of the sunken ship.

A search is under way to rescue the other two crewmen who remain unaccounted for.

This photo provided by the Coast Guard shows rescuers search the sea off Gunsan, North Jeolla Province, on Oct. 20, 2021, after a Chinese fishing boat capsized, leaving seven crewmen missing. (PHOTO NOT FOR SALE) (Yonhap)

A team of four patrol ships and two aircrafts were additionally dispatched to back up the search operation in cooperation with a fishery inspection boat and two Chinese fishing boats at the scene, officials said.

But rescue workers had difficulties due to high waves of up to three meters and strong wind.

"After designating the 20-kilometer radius of the accident scene as the scope of search, we are looking for those missing people," an official at the Coast Guard's Gunsan office said.

The capsized Chinese boat was fishing in the South Korean exclusive economic zone after getting permission, the officials said.

As soon as the search operation is completed, the Coast Guard plans to carry out a probe to determine the exact cause of the accident.

All those rescued from the ship will be transferred to China's coast guard authorities, the local officials added.


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