Search continues for 3 Koreans missing in Taiwan Strait
The 322-ton vessel Kyoto 1 carrying six Koreans from Busan to Batam, Indonesia, sent out a distress signal around 9:50 a.m. on Thursday when it was sailing some 18 miles west of Taiwan, said the Foreign Ministry in a statement Thursday.
Local search and rescue teams were dispatched to the location by boat and helicopter immediately after the signal, according to Taiwanese authorities, said the ministry.
The Korean government, informed about the incident from the Taiwanese authorities, also dispatched a search and rescue team aboard a 3,000-ton Coast Guard vessel, said the ministry.
Three bodies, all identified as Korean nationals aboard the Kyoto 1, were recovered from the Taiwan Strait as of Saturday.
Two were recovered on Friday near the location where the distress signal was sent, and one on Saturday afternoon near the Pescadores Islands in the Taiwan Strait.
All three bodies were sent to a local hospital morgue, said the ministry.
“The government will do its best in searching for the Korean crew members and supporting their families,” a Foreign Ministry official told the press Friday.
In a related accident, a helicopter carrying four Coast Guard officials crashed in the sea near Mara Island south of Seogwipo, Jeju Island, on Friday, killing two.
One official was rescued, but another is missing, according to the Coast Guard.
The chopper had just dropped off six other Coast Guard officials headed for the rescue operation in the Taiwan Strait, and was taking off when it crashed, according to the Coast Guard.
“We are currently mobilizing all available manpower to search for the missing person,” a Coast Guard official told the press on Friday.
BY ESTHER CHUNG [email@example.com]