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Hit, run crash kills ship captain

A CHINESE fishing captain was killed, eight of his crew are missing and two sailors were rescued after their boat was the victim of a hit-and-run collision with a foreign freighter near the mouth of the Yangtze River early yesterday, maritime authorities said.

Small fishing boats like the one involved in the wreck usually do not carry adequate lifesaving gear, and the survival of the missing crew was doubtful, officials said.

The foreign freighter, identified as the M.V. Sea Utility, was sailing toward the Philippines when the accident happened, Xinhua news agency quoted the maritime bureau of eastern China's Zhejiang Province as saying. The vessel fled the scene of the collision but was found later, according to Xinhua.

A government-run news Website reported that the fishing boat was anchored when the mishap occurred.

The Chinese boat, registered in Zhoushan, Zhejiang Province, went down around 3:40am yesterday in Shanghai waters, officials with the Shanghai Maritime Safety Administration said.

The captain of the fishing crew, surnamed Yu, died of injuries after being pulled out of the water, according to local authorities. The exact cause of death was not available yesterday.

The two crewmen who were rescued were in stable condition in a Zhejiang Province hospital last night. A rescue boat had been cruising the wreck site since 9am but reported no trace of the missing men as of yesterday evening, according to the Shanghai-based Donghai Rescue Bureau.

The bureau's rescue helicopter returned to its base yesterday afternoon after spending hours searching the sea, said Huang Shaohua, a bureau official.

"We received the help call at 5:53am, and it took three hours for the rescue ship to reach the wreck," Huang said.

Witnesses said more than 30 ships participated in the rescue, and the three men were pulled out of water at 4:10am, according to Xinhua.

There was no plan to locate and salvage the fishing boat because it does not jeopardize water traffic safety.


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