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South Korean Ship Sinks in Bering Sea; 52 Missing

  • VOA News

Chukotka region, Russia

Chukotka region, Russia

A search-and-rescue mission continues for a South Korean fishing vessel that sank early Monday in the Bering Sea off Russia's far-eastern Chukotka region, officials said.

The Oriong-501 had a crew of 60 people. Eight crew members were pulled out of the water, including one who subsequently died, said Artur Rets, head of the maritime rescue service in Russia's port of Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky. Another 52 people are missing.

Officials said the ship began to list after taking on water in rough seas, forcing the crew to abandon it.

"When the fish were being hauled in, the vessel was hit by a wave," Rets said, adding that the ship sank at 0530 GMT.

The mission has been hampered by bad weather, with high winds and pounding waves.

The first rescuers did not arrive until more than three hours after the ship first experienced problems. Of the seven rescued, four were on a life raft together, and the rest were holding onto floating debris.

The South Korean fisheries ministry said the 36-year-old vessel, operated by Sajo Industries, had a crew including 35 Indonesians, 13 Philippine nationals, 11 South Koreans and one Russian inspector. None of the seven rescued was Korean.

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