Rescuers searching a 24-tonne fishing boat that capsized off South Korea’s southwestern coast found three missing crew members dead inside the shipwreck on Monday, Coast Guard officials said.
Seawater started to flood the ship’s engine room, causing the vessel, the Cheongbo, to overturn at 11.19 p.m. on February 4 in waters 16.6 km west of the uninhabited island of Daebichi that lies some 20 km from the southwestern county of Sinan, reports Yonhap News Agency.
The sinking had left nine of the 12 people, including three foreign nationals, on board the ship missing, while the other three were rescued by another boat at the scene.
Divers on an underwater search entered the sunken ship and found one of those missing crew members inside the ship’s cabin at 3.22 a.m. and retrieved the body, Coast Guard officials said.
Authorities identified him as the ship’s chief engineer in his 60s.
Two more crew members — one Korean and the other foreigner — were later found dead near the vessel’s stern by Coast Guard divers.
Rescue workers had difficulty entering the ship, where entangled fishing gear and nets blocked their path.
They planned to bring the shipwreck out of the water around noon to search its interior for the missing.