5 dead, 17 missing as S Korean ship sinks

Updated: 2010-12-13 13:26
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WELLINGTON - Five people were dead and 17 missing after a South Korean fishing vessel sank in the Southern Ocean early Monday, Maritime New Zealand confirmed on Monday.

Maritime New Zealand's Rescue Coordination Center in Wellington said on Monday Number 1 In Sung sank about 6:30 am New Zealand local time on Monday  about 1000 nautical miles north of McMurdo Base, inside New Zealand's search and rescue region.

Twenty survivors have been found and were now on another fishing vessel, No 707 Hongjin, along with the bodies, Radio New Zealand reported.

Nearby vessels have been called in to search for the missing and a New Zealand Air Force Orion airplane may also be used.

The rescue center said it is not known what caused the ship to sink or why no distress communication was received.

The sea temperature in the area is about 2 degrees celsius and there is a one-meter swell. Survival times in the water are about 10 minutes without life-jackets or immersion suits, it said.