The Japan Coast Guard said that a fire on a South Korean fishing boat had been discovered on Friday near the islands disputed with China. Three people were found dead among those that were rescued, but another five are still missing. South Korean officials have confirmed that it was a fisheries agency ship operating in the East China Sea.
Japanese officials say a coast guard plane first spotted the vessel around 8:30 AM, and that there were nine crew members aboard, made up of seven Koreans and two Chinese nationals. Efforts to find the missing five are still ongoing, the coast guard adds. The incident took place roughly 100 nautical miles north of the largest of the Senkaku Islands, which are controlled by Japan but claimed by China as the Diaoyu.
A second South Korean vessel was able to arrive at the scene quickly, recovering the other four members of the crew. Out of those, however, three were already dead. Spokespeople say they cannot confirm the nationalities of those who are dead or missing, but more Japanese patrol boats have arrived to help with the search. It is still unknown how the fire broke out or what activities the crew of the ship were engaged in.
[via Asia One]