POHANG, South Korea, Oct. 16 (Xinhua) -- A Panamanian- registered cargo ship carrying 19 people sank at a port in Pohang, southeast of Seoul amid a storm at around 21:30 local time on Tuesday, leaving nine people dead and two missing, according to the Chinese Consulate General in Busan.
An official from the Chinese Consulate General confirmed that among 19 people aboard the ship, 18 were Chinese citizens and the remaining one was Vietnamese.
Eight people have been rescued and nine bodies recovered including the Vietnamese by far, while two people are still missing, according to the South Korea's coast guard who conducts the rescue operation.
Officials from Chinese Consulate General in Busan have visited the eight survivors in two local hospitals, saying all of them are suffered only tiny superficial wounds and are in stable condition.
South Korea's coast guard said the ship CHENGLU15 set off from Pyeongtaek port of South Korea's west coast on Oct. 2 and arrived at Pohang two days later to unload the cargo. It was planning to leave for Japan on Tuesday after unloading all the cargo, but finally decided to stay considering the bad weather.
At around 15:15 local time on Tuesday, the ship crew called local police reporting the ship ran into the seawall as its anchor was swept away by the storm. But South Korean coast guard got close to the ship until 17:00 local time as strong wind and waves hampered the rescue operation. The ship sank after six hours in Yingri Harbor of Pohang.
"Although the captain ordered full steam ahead, our ship was still pushed to the seawall by strong wind and wave. The minute before the collision happened, two men tried to jump to the seawall, but failed and fell into the sea. The rest of us were frightened and decided to stay on board, witness our ship began to take on water," said the 28 years old survivor Sang Xiaoliang, adding that most of the victims are young people around 25-years old who just graduated from a marine school.
Seven people survived by clinging to the top of the main mast which has not been submerged by the 20-meter depth seawater after the ship sinking. Another one named Xie Haiping, the electrician of the ship, kept swimming in the sea and was finally rescued by the coast guard.
"I kept swimming for more than 10 hours and tried to hold my breath when big waves came. I am so tired and aching all over right now. But I still feel lucky that I was finally saved by the coast guard,"said Xie Haiping, a 39 years old man.
The Panamanian-registered ship belongs to China's Lishen international shipping group corporation in Zhejiang province. The boss of the company was just arriving to deal with the aftermath of the accident.
The South Korean coast guard has established an emergency rescue headquarters, sending helicopters, ships and special rescue team to search the missing people.
Chinese Consulate General in Busan has also sent a team of four people to assist the rescue work and called for the South Korean side to make all-out efforts to rescue the crew.
Eight rescued after ship sinks off ROK coast
BEIJING, Oct. 16 (Xinhua) -- Eight crew members have been rescued after a cargo ship with 18 Chinese nationals and a Vietnamese aboard sank Tuesday off the coast of the Republic of Korea, a Foreign Ministry spokesperson said here Wednesday.
Rescuers also recovered nine bodies and are stilling searching for the two missing crew members, Hua Chunying told a routine press conference. Full Story
1 dead, 18 missing as Panamanian-registered cargo ship sinks off S. Korea
SEOUL, Oct. 16 (Xinhua) -- A Panamanian-flagged cargo ship carrying 19 people sank in South Korea's southeast port city of Pohang amid a storm at 21:30 local time on Tuesday, leaving one person dead and 18 missing, according to the Chinese Consulate General in Busan.
An official from the Chinese Consulate General confirmed that 19 crew members were aboard the ship, including 18 Chinese and one Vietnamese. The dead one was confirmed to be the Chinese captain. Full Story