BEIJING — Rescuers were hunting for 27 people missing after a Vietnam-registered fishing trawler capsized in high winds and sank in the South China Sea, officials and China's state media said Thursday.
The Xinhua news agency identified the vessel as the "Phu Tan", saying those on board were fishermen. Neither the officials nor the report gave their nationalities.
The report said strong winds caused the vessel to tip over and sink about 185 kilometres (115 miles) west of the city of Sanya on the southern Chinese island of Hainan.
"We received a message asking for help from the vessel today. It has 27 fishermen on board," a duty officer at the Hainan maritime safety administration told AFP, saying a rescue operation was under way.
Xinhua said China's maritime transportation bureau had dispatched a rescue vessel.
However, in Hanoi, an official from Vietnam's National Search and Rescue Committee who asked not to be named told AFP the vessel was a container ship.
"We just sent our vessels to look for it a few hours ago. This ship belongs to us (Vietnam)," the official said.
"The container ship sank as the main engine was broken and the water came in. There were 25 crewmen and two visitors on board. We were told they were all with life jackets but have not found them yet."
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