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18 Chinese fishermen rescued after sheltering in sea beacon from Typhoon Neoguri for nearly 30 hours

Source: Xinhua | 04-22-2008 08:22

HAIKOU, April 21 (Xinhua) -- Eighteen Chinese fishermen seeking shelter from strong gales brought by Typhoon Neoguri in a sea beacon for nearly 30 hours without any food have been rescued, rescuers said.

The 18 people were among the 26 rescued Chinese fishermen who returned to Sanya, a southern city of China's Hainan Province on Monday.

Deng Dafang, captain of fishing boat "Qinghai 01030" from Hainan, still remembered clearly their ordeal.

At 3 a.m. Friday, gales of up to about 120 kilometers per hour swept on the sea near the Xisha Archipelago, about 180 nautical miles southeast of the Hainan Island.

Deng's boat with 16 aboard, was seeking shelter at sea rocks north of the archipelago with two other fishing boats from Hainan.

They had to leave the boat as it was in danger of being sunken by the gales.

Deng and other crew managed to come in rafts to a column-shaped beacon built on reefs. They entered the beacon which was empty inside. Altogether 18 managed to seek shelter in the beacon.

Deng and others waited nearly 30 hours in the beacon before they were rescued by a South China Sea Rescue Bureau vessel at 8:30 a.m. Saturday. They did not eat anything in the 30 hours.

The three Hainan vessels all sank.

Eight other Chinese fishermen were either rescued by Vietnam vessels or Chinese vessels.

Cao Hui, a publicity official of the Sanya rescue base under the bureau, said about 40 Chinese and Vietnamese fishermen were still missing. The number included 18 Chinese from the three sunken vessels and 22Vietnamese fishermen reportedly missing.

Neoguri, the first to hit China this year, landed in the northeast coastal area of Hainan at 10:30 p.m. on Friday.