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China Daily Website

3 men missing after submarine accident

Updated: 2013-04-16 18:06

Three people are missing after a submarine accident near the coast of South China's Guangdong province on Monday.

Four people were in the civil submarine, developed by Zhuhai Jianyu Shipping Co in Zhuhai, when it was undergoing a trial operation underwater, Southern Metropolis Daily reported on Tuesday.

The accident happened when the submarine surfaced in duckweed floating on the sea's surface, which caused motor failure, the report said.

The only survivor told a rescuer that the pilot opened the door of the submarine in an attempt to escape, as he felt stuffy in the 5-meter-long, 1.2-meter-wide submarine.

The four left the submarine after a wave caused it to sink. One managed to swim back to the shore, but the other three went missing.

A rescuer, surnamed Zeng, said the waters where the accident happened were 2 meters deep in low tide. He said the people onboard might have panicked.

"They could have waited for us to arrive if they had climbed onto the mast of the submarine," he said.

Gao Guangxue, chairman of Zhuhai Jianyu Shipping Co, said the accident was caused by the pilot's decision to open the door without a permit, and that it had nothing to do with quality of the submarine.

Rescuers are searching for the missing people and the accident is being investigated, according to the local government.