Thursday, November 20, 2008

Fishing Boat Capsizes off Gampo

A 79-ton fishing boat capsized 72 km off the east of Gampo, South Gyeongsang Province at around 2:42 a.m. on Wednesday. Three crew members, including 49-year-old Hwang Yong-jin, have been rescued and hospitalized for hypothermic shock and injuries. Seven others, including 46-year-old captain Kim Chung-gil, are missing. “I was sleeping with five other colleagues in a cabin, but awoke when I felt the boat suddenly tilting. I then saw water leaking in,” said Hwang. “We were locked in the cabin but managed to swim out of there at dawn, thanks to the lifesaving equipment. Before I went to bed, I had seen our captain and some other crew members on the deck and in the steering room.”The total of 10 crew members included captain Kim, eight Korean sailors, and one Indonesian national. The boat departed Port Tongyeong, South Gyeongsang Province, to go crab fishing at 8 a.m. on Tuesday. They reported a shipwreck at 3:25 a.m. before losing contact. The Pohang Coast Guard said, “We are looking for the missing people with one helicopter and over 10 patrol boats, but because of strong winds of 12-14 m/sec and a high tide, it is currently difficult accessing the wrecked boat.” An official at the Pohang Coast Guard said, “As the crew members were sleeping, we are guessing the capsizing wasn’t due to an engine defect, but because of the strong winds and high tide.”

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