|1 dead, 5 missing after boat sinks off SKorea's
December 27, 2007
SEOUL, South Korea: A South Korean fishing boat sank Thursday
in waters off the country's east coast due to a fire, leaving
one of two rescued crew members dead and five others missing,
a Coast Guard official said.
Meanwhile, rescuers were searching off the nation's southern
coast for 14 sailors feared dead in a separate accident
involving their ship that was carrying nitric acid.
The fishing boat accident happened before dawn when the
24-ton ship caught fire, forcing the seven crew to abandon
the boat after failing to extinguish the flames, said an
official at the Coast Guard station in Sokcho, 210 kilometers
(130 miles) east of Seoul.
Two fishermen were rescued by a nearby boat and Coast guard
vessels three hours after the accident but one later died
apparently of hypothermia, the official said on condition
of anonymity, citing internal policy.
"All of us were sleeping but someone shouted 'fire'
and rest of us were trying to put out the fire by an extinguisher
before jumping into the sea," the official quoted Lim
Se-jin, the rescued survivor, as telling Coast Guard officials.
Australia holds day of mourning for fire victims
The ship sank six hours later in waters about 76 kilometers
(47 miles) east of Jumunjin, a city on the east coast, the
Some 50 Coast Guard, navy and fishing boats joined by helicopters
launched search and rescue operations to find the missing.
None of the fishermen wore life jackets and the possibility
of survival was diminishing unless they are rescued quickly,
the official said.
Also Thursday, Coast Guard boats and helicopters searched
for 14 sailors feared dead in a separate accident in waters
off the nation's southern coast.
The ship, carrying 2,000 tons of nitric acid, was feared
to have sunk after it sent out a distress signal early Tuesday
off Yeosu, 455 kilometers (280 miles) south of Seoul. One
sailor has been rescued.
The coast guard dispatched boats to measure the acidity
of the water to determine whether or how much nitric acid
was released, said a female officer at the coast guard's
marine pollution bureau, adding that the results were not
The spate of ship accidents come after South Korea works
to contain the country's worst-ever oil spill, which blackened
beaches and jeopardized the ecosystem along the country's
west coast after a wayward barge hit a supertanker on Dec.