(4th LD) Search under way for 9 missing after fishing boat capsizes
(ATTN: ADDS crane arrival, other details in paras 7-9)
SEOUL/SINAN, Feb. 5 (Yonhap) -- Coast Guard rescue crews were searching Sunday for nine people whose boat capsized in waters off South Korea's southwestern coast.
It was reported at 11:19 p.m. Saturday that the 24-ton vessel had overturned in waters 16.6 kilometers west of the island of Daebichi, the authorities said. The uninhabited island lies some 20 km from the southwestern county of Sinan.
A total of 12 people, including three foreign nationals, were on board, they said.
Three of the crew were rescued by a nearby boat and were transported to a hospital, the authorities said.
Nine others, however, are still unaccounted for.
Citing statements from the rescued people, Kim Hae-cheol, head of the Coast Guard in Mokpo, told reporters that three crew members were at the bow section of the ship, three were in the engine room and the remaining six were at the stern.
A 200-ton floating crane arrived at the scene around 8:30 p.m. to try to salvage the ship, according to officials.
Rescue workers were expanding the search area because the missing crew members may not be inside the ship.
About 30 coast guard and Navy ships as well as four aircraft were deployed for the rescue operation.
Earlier, President Yoon Suk Yeol urged maximum efforts for the search and rescue of the missing people.
He ordered the mobilization of all available resources by widening the search and rescue area, presidential spokeswoman Kim Eun-hye said.
He also emphasized the need for the full support of the families of the missing, as he ordered the dispatch of Oceans Minister Cho Seung-hwan and Interior Minister Lee Sang-min to the site, Kim added.
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