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74 missing after typhoon sinks fishing boats

Updated: 2013-09-30 10:44
( Xinhua)

HAIKOU - A total of 74 people have been confirmed missing after three fishing boats have sunk since Sunday afternoon in a typhoon in South China Sea, maritime authorities said on Monday.

The boats, all from south China's Guangdong province with 88 fishermen aboard, were lost on Sunday afternoon as they attempted to navigate gales near the Xisha Islands, about 330 km from China's island province of Hainan, sources with the Hainan maritime search and rescue center said.

74 missing after typhoon sinks fishing boats

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As of Monday noon, rescuers had retrieved 14 survivors, the sources said.

An aircraft was sent by the Ministry of Transport at 10:39 am for the rescue operation.

Meanwhile, the government of the newly-established Sansha City had mobilized local island residents as well as nearby ships to participate in the search and rescue efforts.

Scores of other ships are on their way to the scene. However, the rescue operations had been hampered by strong gales and high waves on the sea, according to the rescue center.

Altogether five fishing boats with a total of 171 people aboard were caught by Typhoon Wutip, the 21st of the season, the sources said.

China's maritime authority on Sunday upgraded its wave warning from yellow to orange, the second-highest of a four-tier color-coded weather warning system, as the typhoon approached land.

The National Marine Environmental Forecasting Center warned of storm tides from Sunday to Monday in Guangdong, Hainan and Guangxi.

Wutip is expected to make landfall on Vietnam's central coast on Tuesday.

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