Twenty bodies have been recovered from the Dec. 1 sinking of a South Korean fishing boat, but 33 fishermen are still missing.
Freezing water and stormy weather continue to hamper rescue operations after the South Korean fishing vessel Oryong 501 was flooded by a massive wave and sank Dec. 1 in the western part of the Bering Sea, near Russia. Thus far, 20 bodies have been recovered and seven passengers were saved. Unfortunately, 33 fishermen are still missing, according to recent reports from India’s Zee News.
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The tragedy has impacted more than South Korea, as the ship’s crew—who were fishing for pollock—included not only 11 South Koreans, but also 35 Indonesians, 13 Filipinos and one Russian inspector. The death toll is expected to increase as rescue efforts continue.
At least five fishing ships, as well as Coast Guard helicopters from the United States and Russia have been dispatched to aid in the search-and-rescue operation. According to the U.S. National Center for Environmental Protection, the sea surface temperature in the area is near freezing.
“I’m afraid there is no good news,” a Sajo official in Busan, from where the 38-year-old vessel set sail earlier this year, said.
The sinking of the Oryong 501, which departed South Korea on a fishing expedition July 10, occurred just eight months after the nation’s deadliest maritime disaster in decades, the April sinking of a Sewol ferry off South Korea’s Southwestern coast, which left 300 passengers dead.