Three killed as fishing boat sinks near Hong Kong

PUBLISHED : Monday, 08 January, 2007, 12:00am
UPDATED : Monday, 08 January, 2007, 12:00am

Three people were killed and two are missing after a mainland fishing boat with nine on board sank in stormy waters southwest of Hong Kong yesterday.

The Zhanjiang 00029, which had left from Zhuhai , sent out a distress call at about 4am - when it was 87km southwest of Hong Kong - saying it was being battered by 5-metre waves.

Hong Kong's Maritime Rescue Co-ordination Centre received an alert from its Guangdong counterpart at 4.37am and the Government Flying Service sent a helicopter and a fixed-wing aircraft. Meanwhile, the Guangdong Rescue Co-ordination Centre sent two rescue ships, which arrived at the scene at about 8am.

Two men found on a wooden raft were plucked to safety by the helicopter at about 7am. Within the next hour, the helicopter crew also picked up two men and a woman found floating with a metal box.

All were taken to Pamela Youde Nethersole Eastern Hospital in Chai Wan, where the woman and a man were pronounced dead. The other three men were discharged after treatment. Two more men were found by Guangdong rescue vessels, one was pronounced dead at the scene and the other in a stable condition, a Guangdong rescue spokesman said.

Helicopter pilot Cody Wong Yiu-hong said that huge waves and strong winds had spread the survivors over a wide area. 'We needed some time to search for them.'

The Government Flying Service called off its search for the missing crew at 6pm yesterday. A decision on whether to resume the search today would be taken later, a spokesman said last night.