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UPDATE: South Korean tug reportedly sinks, leaving 4 dead and 2 missing

Four crew members are dead and two others missing after a tug, Kyoto No. 1, apparently capsized off Kaohsiung, Taiwan. The tug, which was manned by six crew members, was towing a barge, Kyoto No. 2 from Busan, South Korea, to Batam, Indonesia.

The Kyoto No. 1 sent a distress signal somewhere near the Penghu Islands (also known as the Pescadores) around 9.50 am local time on 7 April.

Taiwan Coast Guard sent six patrol vessels and three helicopters to the scene, only to find the Kyoto No. 2 adrift 1 nautical mile east of Saha Island, while the Kyoto No. 1 was nowhere to be found, suggesting that the tug could have sunk.

At 10 am local time on 8 April, the body of one crew member was found in the waters around the Penghu Islands, while the second corpse was discovered at 11.30 am. In the afternoon of 9 April, the body of the third crew member was found in waters southeast of the Penghu Islands. On 11 April, at 8.32 pm local time, the body of the tug captain was discovered through a joint effort between the Taiwan and South Korean coast guards. The bodies have been taken to a local hospital where Taiwan Coast Guard and South Korea’s police officials are working together to identify the dead men, who have all been confirmed to be South Korean citizens.

Inspections found that Kyoto No. 2 had suffered some damage to its hull and the barge has been anchored 13.8 nautical miles outside Kaohsiung port.

In a tragic twist, a Korea Coast Guard helicopter sent to assist with the search and rescue of the four missing crew members crashed near Korea’s southernmost island of Maru, killing two crew members, and leaving one missing at around 1 am Taiwan time on 8 April. The Korea Coast Guard has also sent a patrol vessel to the accident scene to assist the search effort.

Martina Li
Asia Correspondent

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