Boat fire kills 5 Indonesians

March 24, 2014 - 1:50:19 pm

JAKARTA: A South Korean fishing boat caught fire and sank in waters off the country's southern island of Jeju on Monday, killing six and leaving one missing, the coast guard said.

The dead include five Indonesians and a South Korean fisherman, while two South Koreans, including the 37-year-old captain surnamed Kim, were rescued, the coast guard said in a statement.

The 38-ton Seongil carrying nine fishermen including five Indonesians and four South Koreans caught fire in waters 108 kilometers southwest of Jeju Island, the coast guard officials said.

The boat sank roughly six hours later, they said, adding that the cause of the fire has yet to be established, according to South Korea's Yonhap News Agency.

The coast guard said the crew members jumped into the freezing waters to escape from the burning vessel after failing to send out a distress signal.

"The exact cause of death should be determined after conducting an autopsy," said a coast guard official, adding that hypothermia is suspected.

The coast guard said it has dispatched patrol boats and aircraft to the scene to search for the missing in cooperation with other fishing boats. (QNA)