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January 12, 2010

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Search continues for missing fishermen

A SEARCH for 11 people missing after a vessel collision was continuing around the coast near Putian City in southeast China's Fujian Province yesterday, the third day since the accident.

"We have 230 people involved in the search at sea and 500 people combing the sea and small islets," said an officer surnamed Chen with the Putian Maritime Affairs Bureau.

He said a helicopter and 17 vessels were involved in the search.

The accident occurred when a freighter and a fishing boat collided at 12:35pm on Saturday off Putian's Nanri Island, causing the fishing boat, Minshiyu 3785, to sink. Two of the 14 crew were rescued, and one has been confirmed dead.

Wang Huayong, one of the two rescued, said they were about to cast their net, when the freighter suddenly ran into the boat.

"All the crew were on deck at the time. The boat capsized and we all fell into the sea," said Wang, 23, from Sichuan Province.

He said he and another fisherman, Zhuang Zhiming, were saved by people on the freighter.

"We found the body of Zhuang Sijin, one of the crew from the boat, afterward, but could see no sign of the others," said Wang.

The Putian Maritime Search and Rescue Center launched rescue operations at around 2:58pm.

Lu Shaohua, a police officer with the Fujian Maritime Police, said the chances of the missing crew being found alive were slim.


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