SEOUL, South Korea (AP) — Ten people were feared dead after a Chinese fishing boat sank in international waters near the South Korean resort island of Jeju, officials said Friday.
Three survivors rescued by crew members of another nearby Chinese fishing boat told officials that their boat collided with a cargo ship that did not stop to help them. South Korean officials had no details about the cargo ship.
The fishing boat sank about 160 kilometres west of the southern island on Thursday evening, according to Jeju coast guard official Koh Kwang-sick.
Three vessels and two helicopters from South Korea’s coast guard and navy have been searching the area since early Friday but found only an empty lifeboat. Two Chinese rescue vessels were also searching.
Koh said the missing fishermen were likely dead considering the amount of time that had passed since the accident. The survivors, who weren’t wearing life jackets when they were rescued, told South Korean officials that their colleagues were likely trapped inside the sunken boat, which listed quickly after the collision, Koh said. He said the search operation would likely end in the next two or three days.
More than 300 people, mostly teenagers on a school trip, were killed when a ferry sank on its way to Jeju last year.