Rescuers searching for two missing boats in South China Sea

22:00, February 21, 2011      

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Two boats with 20 fishermen aboard were still missing while eight sailors from another sinking vessel were rescued in the South China Sea, maritime authorities said Monday.

In the latest case, 13 fishermen aboard a boat that went adrift -- due to engine failure -- in the waters 17 sea miles east off the southern island province Hainan at about 1 p.m. Monday, the South China Sea Rescue Bureau (SCSRB) said in a statement.

The Guangdong-registered fishing boat, a 17-meter wooden vessel, was en route from Hebo Port in Dianbai County, Guangdong, to Hainan, the bureau cited a family member surnamed Deng as saying in the statement.

Rescuers were not able to contact the fishermen, and rescue efforts were still under way, according to the statement.

Separately, the search for a fishing boat with seven people on board reported missing late Friday continued for the third day Monday.

The boat, registered in the port city of Zhanjiang, Guangdong, was heading to a port of Wenchang County in Hainan Province, rescue authorities said.

Family members had tried calling the fishermen, all of whom were from Zhanjiang, at around 9 p.m. Friday, only to find their cell phones off.

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