Saturday 10 December 2016

Ten people dead after fishing boat capsizes in South Korea

Published 06/09/2015 | 13:37

People watch a TV news program showing South Korean Coast Guard officers search for missing passengers after a fishing boat capsized in the water off north of the resort island of Jeju, at Seoul Railway Station in Seoul, South Korea, Sunday, Sept. 6, 2015. (AP Photo/Ahn Young-joon)
People watch a TV news program showing South Korean Coast Guard officers search for missing passengers after a fishing boat capsized in the water off north of the resort island of Jeju, at Seoul Railway Station in Seoul, South Korea, Sunday, Sept. 6, 2015. (AP Photo/Ahn Young-joon)
South Korean Coast Guard personnel carry the body of a passenger who was onboard a boat called Dolgorae, or Dolphin, which capsized at the sea off the southern island of Jeju in Heanam, South Korea, September 6, 2015. REUTERS/Park Ji-ho/Yonhap
South Korean Navy's Ship Salvage Unit (SSU) personnel take part in a search and rescue operation at the sea off the southern island of Jeju, South Korea, September 6, 2015. REUTERS/Park Ji-ho/Yonhap
South Korean Coast Guard ships sail to search for missing passengers who were on a capsized fishing boat in the water off north of the resort island of Jeju, South Korea, Sunday, Sept. 6, 2015. (Park Ji-ho/Yonhap via AP)

Ten people died and others are missing after a fishing boat capsized off South Korea's southern coast.

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Three people were rescued and flown to hospital with injuries that were not life-threatening, Jeju coast guard officers said.

Dozens of ships searched the area for survivors.

The Dolphin, lost communication with another boat on Saturday evening and was found this morning north of the resort island of Jeju.

South Korean Coast Guard ships sail to search for missing passengers who were on a capsized fishing boat in the water off north of the resort island of Jeju, South Korea, Sunday, Sept. 6, 2015. (Park Ji-ho/Yonhap via AP)
South Korean Coast Guard ships sail to search for missing passengers who were on a capsized fishing boat in the water off north of the resort island of Jeju, South Korea, Sunday, Sept. 6, 2015. (Park Ji-ho/Yonhap via AP)

A survivor told Yonhap news agency that the boat quickly capsized because of high waves.

The survivor, identified only by the surname Park, awoke to find the captain telling the passengers to get out as the boat filled with water.

South Korean Navy's Ship Salvage Unit (SSU) personnel take part in a search and rescue operation at the sea off the southern island of Jeju, South Korea, September 6, 2015. REUTERS/Park Ji-ho/Yonhap
South Korean Navy's Ship Salvage Unit (SSU) personnel take part in a search and rescue operation at the sea off the southern island of Jeju, South Korea, September 6, 2015. REUTERS/Park Ji-ho/Yonhap

Park said survivors clung to the boat for more than 10 hours, but some disappeared in the strong waves before rescuers arrived.

It was not clear how many were on board, but most were passengers on a fishing trip, not professional fishermen, one of the coast guard officials said.

South Korean Coast Guard personnel carry the body of a passenger who was onboard a boat called Dolgorae, or Dolphin, which capsized at the sea off the southern island of Jeju in Heanam, South Korea, September 6, 2015. REUTERS/Park Ji-ho/Yonhap
South Korean Coast Guard personnel carry the body of a passenger who was onboard a boat called Dolgorae, or Dolphin, which capsized at the sea off the southern island of Jeju in Heanam, South Korea, September 6, 2015. REUTERS/Park Ji-ho/Yonhap

A document listed 22 expected passengers, but officials have found that at least four of them did not actually board the ship.

Also, one of the three survivors was not among those listed in the document, Jeju's coast guard chief Lee Pyung-hyun said.

More than 40 coast guard, navy and civilian ships searched the nearby waters.

The boat had left Chuja Island, north-west of Jeju Island, to return to a south-western town on the mainland, before losing communication, Mr Lee said.

South Korea is still dealing with grief and anger over a maritime disaster last year that killed more than 300 people, mostly school children, when a ferry sank off the southern coast.

Critics blamed lax government oversight and the country's poor safety culture in part for the sinking.

President Park Geun-hye, heavily criticised for alleged incompetence over the ferry sinking, ordered her government to "do everything possible for the search and rescue of the missing" and to keep the public informed.

Press Association

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