At least five Chinese fishermen were killed and 18 rescued after two Chinese fishing boats were hit by typhoon Bolaven, said a Chinese consul in the Republic of Korea as the devastating typhoon swept across the Korean Peninsula on Tuesday.
All the 18 surviving fishermen are in an ROK hospital with one seriously injured, though none of their conditions are life-threatening, Chen Junjie, a consul from Chinese consulate-general in Jeju in the ROK, told China Daily.
Rescuers are still searching for 10 other missing fishermen.
The consulate-general is confirming the identities of the fishermen, Chen said.
According to the Yonhap News Agency, two Chinese fishing boats were hit by Bolaven in waters off the ROK’s southernmost island of Jeju in the morning, throwing 33 fishermen into the water.
One of the boats hit a reef and the other sank, according to Chen.
"The destroyed boats were later blown to shore and ROK coast guards told us there was no one left on board," he said.
After being informed by the ROK about the sinking of the boats, officials from the Chinese consulate-general in Jeju immediately went to the site and worked closely with the ROK to rescue the fishermen, said Chen.
The officials also visited the injured fishermen in the hospital, he added.
China has sent a rescue vessel to Jeju Island to help with the rescue, said Miao Rongbing from the China Maritime Search and Rescue Center.
"China’s professional rescue vessel Donghaijiu 115 is heading to Jeju Island, and it is due to arrive in the waters on Wednesday morning," he said.
Miao urged merchant ships in nearby waters to take part in the rescue work, as further rescue efforts are still badly needed.
ROK President Lee Myung-bak instructed local governments on Tuesday to keep their guards high against Bolaven and take every possible effort to minimize damage as the powerful storm battered the countries, said Yonhap.
Bolaven, the strongest typhoon to hit the ROK in almost a decade, inflicted significant damage.
According to Agence France-Presse, 12 people in the ROK were killed and 10 were missing after Bolaven pounded the country, uprooting trees and cutting power to almost 200,000 homes.
The ROK Transport Ministry said all 87 sea ferry services had been halted. A total of 247 flights have been canceled since Monday. Schools in Seoul and several other areas were closed, said AFP.
On Tuesday evening, the typhoon hit the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, which is still struggling to recover from deadly floods earlier this summer.
No casualties have been reported from the DPRK so far.