Search for fishermen continues
Updated: 2013-10-02 00:21
By XU WEI (China Daily)
Rescuers prepare to be lowered to save fishermen on the Yuetaiyu 62112 on Tuesday in the South China Sea. Rescuers had retrieved 12 survivors, as the search was ongoing amid strong gale winds for people missing after three fishing boats sank due to Typhoon Wutip.Zhao Yingquan / xinhua
Four people have been confirmed dead and 12 others rescued as the search continued on Tuesday for fishermen who were aboard three fishing vessels that sank after being caught in a typhoon in the South China Sea, provincial authorities said.
The Hainan provincial government confirmed that another 58 people remained missing, China Central Television reported.
The three vessels from Taishan, Guangdong province, with 88 people on board, sank near Shanhu Island in the South China Sea as they were hit by Typhoon Wutip on Sunday.
As of Tuesday, 22 ships and four helicopters were conducting rescue work near where the ships sank and another two ships were on their way, according to the Hainan maritime safety authority.
Gale winds of magnitude six to seven on the Beaufort scale and waves as high as two to three meters have hampered the rescue work, the authority said.
Five fishing vessels, including four from Taishan, Guangdong province, and one from the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region, were trapped by the typhoon on Sunday.
Chen Songyin, captain of another boat that escaped the typhoon, told China News Service that the five vessels took refuge near Shanhu Island after warnings from meteorological authorities.
However, the fishermen underestimated the strength of Wutip as it came with winds up to magnitude 14 on the Beaufort scale. "It was already too late when we found we should have left the small island," he said.
Chen said his boat started to rescue the fishermen but the strong winds made it virtually impossible.
"We are very safe now. But I am very worried about my brothers that are lost in the water. I pray that they will be rescued safely," he said.
Xinhua contributed to this story.