|The Tongyeong Coast Guard rescue passengers of a fishing boat, in the white circle, after it capsized following a collision with an LPG carrier off Yokji Island in Tongyeong, South Gyeongsang Province, Friday. / Courtesy of Tongyeong Coast Guard|
By Kim Rahn
Three people died and two others are missing after a fishing boat capsized in waters off South Gyeongsang Province, following a collision with a cargo vessel Friday morning, according to Tongyeong Coast Guard.
The 9.7-ton Invincible Shark capsized about 80 kilometers off Yokji Island in Tongyeong about 5 a.m. The LPG carrier that hit it reported the incident to the Coast Guard.
The Coast Guard found 12 among the 14 people on board. But two of them, and the boat's captain, were unconscious and transferred to a hospital by helicopter. They were later pronounced dead.
They were not wearing life vests and were found inside the cabin, according to the coast guard.
The others were taken to a hospital in Yeosu, South Jeolla Province, on a patrol ship.
The survivors told the Coast Guard that a large ship crashed into the side of the boat and the boat capsized immediately while they were trying to put on life vests. The coast guard discovered later that the ship was the 3,000-ton LPG carrier that reported the accident.
"We are investigating the crew of the carrier for the exact cause of the accident," an official said, adding the Panama-registered ship helped in the rescue operation.
|Survivors of a fishing boat accident leave a patrol ship at a port in Yeosu, South Jeolla Province, Friday. Their boat capsized after it and an LPG carrier collided off Yokji Island in South Gyeongsang Province. Three among 14 onboard died and two are missing. / Yonhap|
The Invincible Shark left Gukdong Fishing Port in Yeosu at 1:20 p.m. Thursday for hairtail fishing. The captain, surnamed Choi, one crew member and 12 anglers were onboard.
Regarding the Yeosu-registered Invincible Shark being found in the sea in South Gyeongsang Province, fishermen in the region say they have to go far to catch hairtail in winter and boats often violate regulations about not crossing provincial boundaries.
But the surviving crew member told the coast guard that they fished in the South Jeolla provincial sea and went into the South Gyeongsang area to make a detour due to wind. He said the captain and the passengers did not drink.
Authorities mobilized 14 patrol ships, four helicopters and four naval ships for the rescue operation, with five fishing boats helping with the work. They are continuing the search for the missing.
Prime Minister Lee Nak-yon made an emergency order to the Coast Guard, the Ministry of National Defense and the Ministry of Oceans and Fisheries to make all efforts to find the missing people and provide adequate medical treatment for survivors.
"Lee ordered the authorities to mobilize all possible means, including divers and helicopters, to search every location, such as the seashore and the inside of the ship, to find the missing people," the Prime Minister's Office said.
Interior and Safety Minister Kim Boo-kyum also visited the situation room at the National Disaster and Safety Status Control Center in Seoul to monitor the rescue operation.
|Officials of the Ministry of Oceans and Fisheries monitor the rescue operation at the ministry's situation room in the Government Complex Sejong, Friday. / Yonhap|