China / Society

11 dead, 5 missing in boat tragedy

By Xu Wei (China Daily) Updated: 2012-11-29 00:04

At least 11 people are dead and five remain missing after a fishing boat sank in coastal waters early on Wednesday near Dalian, Liaoning province, Xinhua News Agency reported.

The boat with 17 fishermen and women on board, was overturned by huge waves at about 2 am and sank 2 nautical miles from the Houershi village port at the Jinzhou New Area in Dalian.

11 dead, 5 missing in boat tragedy

Rescuers carry the body of a victim after a fishing vessel sank in heavy seas 2 nautical miles off Dalian, Northeast China's Liaoning province, on Wednesday. [Photo/China Daily] 

One person was rescued and the bodies of 11 people were recovered on Wednesday afternoon, Xinhua reported.

Rescuers were still searching for the five missing people on Wednesday afternoon.

The only person rescued was in stable condition and being held for observation at a local hospital.

The boat set out from Houershi Port at around 1 am and those aboard were about to transfer to a bigger fishing vessel before huge waves overturned it.

One fisherman used his satellite mobile phone to call for help.

Ten of the fishermen and women were migrant workers, and seven people, including the owner of the boat, were from the local fishing village.

The wooden boat was 10 meters long and powered by a 10 horsepower engine.

Sun Caihui, a local fishing boat owner who took part in the rescue, said that strong winds and rough seas made the rescue effort very difficult.

"We received a call from the village head at around 5 am and started our boat immediately.

But their boat had sunk beneath the water and the fishermen cannot be found in muddy seawater," he said.

The rescue was made easier in the afternoon when the tide was low.

"Nothing like this has ever happened in our village," said Sun, who knew some of the people aboard the boat personally.

Sun said that hiring non-local fishing workers is common practice in the village because of a labor shortage.

Gale winds as strong as force 8 on the Beaufort scale swept the coastal waters near Dalian city early on Wednesday, China News Service reported.

The search and rescue operation involved a helicopter, seven maritime patrol ships and 120 other boats.

An investigation into the cause of the accident is under way.

Zhang Xiaomin in Dalian contributed to this story.

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