The Japanese and South Korean coast guards are still searching for eight of the 22 crew members of a cargo ship that sank the night before off the southwest of the Japanese archipelago in the East China Sea.
“A total of 14 have been rescued so far,” a spokesman for the Japan Coast Guard told AFP. “We still do not know their condition and their nationalities.”
Eleven of them were “unconscious,” the South Korean coast guard told AFP, which found six of the shipwrecked being transported to the port of Nagasaki (southwest of Japan).
The Jin Tian, a 6,651-ton Hong Kong-registered cargo ship, issued an SOS signal late Tuesday evening Japan time while it was about 110 km west of the Danjo Islands, a remote and uninhabited microarchipelago in southwestern Japan.
Three other merchant boats were in the area at the time and, according to the Japanese Coast Guard, were able to rescue several of the shipwrecked.
A Japan Coast Guard plane and two boats were at the scene on Wednesday, and other ships from Japan and South Korea were due to arrive as reinforcements, authorities in Tokyo and Seoul said.
The sinking of the Jin Tian came as an unusually severe cold snap hit East Asia. Daytime temperatures on the islands closest to the crash site barely reach 3°C.
According to the Japanese Coast Guard, the crew of the Jintan consisted of 14 Chinese and 8 Burmese.