At least 10 people died and eight others are missing after a boat carrying anglers on a fishing trip off the southern coast of South Korea capsized. According to the New York Times, three people were rescued from the boat and were flown to a hospital. Their injuries are not of life-threatening nature, the report confirmed. An ABC News report adds that several ships have reached the spot of the mishap and have started rescue operations.
The boat involved in the mishap was a 9.8-ton boat named Dolphin. The boat lost communication with another boat on Saturday evening. The capsized boat was found on Sunday morning near the island of Jeju.
The circumstances under which the boat capsized have not been revealed yet. However, according to a rescued survivor, the mishap occurred at night after it got entangled inside nets for fish farms. The man, identified only by his surname, Park, said that he was awoken by the noise inside the ship as it capsized. He also heard the captain telling people to get out of the boat as it was filling with water. According to Korean Coast Guard officials, several people clung on to the boat for over 10 hours. However, many of them were swept away by the strong currents.
According to initial estimates, there were over 21 people on the boat, including the captain. The captain is also reportedly among the 10 people who died. Officials have found that there were 22 people scheduled to be on the boat as per a list. However, four of them did not board the vessel and were replaced by three others. They are currently in the process of identifying all the people onboard the boat.
As news of the accident spread, over 70 vessels converged near the area of the mishap in order to look for survivors. These included coast guard, naval, and civilian boats. Five aircraft were also pressed into service for any emergency rescue operations.
This latest boat tragedy in South Korea comes nearly 1.5 years after the Sewol boat tragedy in the same country that took the lives of over 295 people on board the vessel, most of them students. A South Korean court had found the captain of that vessel guilty of murder and was sentenced to 36 years in prison. Fourteen other crew members got a 12-year sentence.
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