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A person’s death has been confirmed during the fire of a ship, this Tuesday, in the waters west of the holiday island of Jeju, in the south of the country, while the remaining 11 crew members are still missing, according to the Coast Guard.
According to maritime police, around 7:09 a.m. there was a fire on the 29-tonne fishing vessel, in waters about 76 kilometers west of a small island near Jeju Island.
Rescuers found one of the crew members, with no pulse and breath signals, at a location 7.4 kilometers south of the accident site.
The South Korean man, 60, named Kim, who was found without a life jacket, was taken by air to a hospital on the island; however, his death was confirmed.
Police said the crew consisted of six South Koreans and six Vietnamese, most of them residing in the southeastern port city of Busan or around South Gyeongsang Province.
President Moon Jae-in ordered the relevant authorities to mobilize all available means for search and rescue efforts, according to presidential office spokeswoman Ko Min-jung.
Moon stressed the importance of performing quick operations, amid reports that the waves are high and the water around the accident site is cold.
The president ordered the Interior and Security Ministers, Chin Young, and the Oceans and Fisheries, Moon Seong-hyeok, to handle the situation thoroughly to ensure effectiveness in the joint operations of the Coast Guard, the Navy and the authorities local.
Moon also ordered the authorities to inform, as soon as possible, the families of the victims, including those of the Vietnamese crew, about the progress in rescue work.
A Navy ship, helicopters, ships and civil boats have been mobilized to rescue the missing members of the crew.
However, strong winds and high waves are blocking access to the crash site of some of the smaller rescue boats, according to maritime police.
An officer said the fire was so great that it made it difficult to enter the ship even after the Navy ship arrived, noting that, as there is the possibility of finding crew members on the ship, they plan to search inside for a once the weather conditions improve.
Rescue workers said they have searched the interior of the ship without much progress.Search operations will continue overnight.
Authorities said they have contacted the families of the missing South Korean crew and have also contacted the families of the Vietnamese crew through the country’s embassy in the country.