Freighter sinks off South Korea, several crew members still missing
Members of the Coast Guard engage in search and rescue operation in waters 148.2 kilometres southeast of the city of Seogwipo on Jeju Island after Jin Tian, a Hong Kong-registered cargo ship carrying 22 crew members, sank off the southern island. -/YNA/dpa
Members of the Coast Guard engage in search and rescue operation in waters 148.2 kilometres southeast of the city of Seogwipo on Jeju Island after Jin Tian, a Hong Kong-registered cargo ship carrying 22 crew members, sank off the southern island. -/YNA/dpa

At least 14 crew members have been rescued after a cargo ship sunk in the sea between South Korea and Japan, a spokesperson for the South Korean cost guard said on Wednesday.

However it was unclear how many of the rescued crew were still alive, he said. South Korean news agency Yonhap reported that at least 11 were unconscious when rescued.

The ship sent a distress call early on Wednesday morning about 150 kilometres south-east off the South Korean island of Jeju, Yonhap reported. When the coast guard reached the location, the vessel had already sunk. The cause of the incident was initially unclear.

According to preliminary information, 22 people had been aboard the 6,551-ton freighter that was sailing under the flag of Hong Kong, transporting timber.

Six of the crew members were pulled out of the water by the South Korean coast guard while the rest was rescued by the Japanese coast guard as well as civilian vessels, according to the spokesperson.