14 Chinese fishermen rescued; 58 still missing after typhoon
BEIJING (CNN) -- Chinese rescuers on Tuesday found 14 fishermen alive and recovered the bodies of two who had died from boats that sank during a typhoon, authorities said.
Fifty-eight fishermen remain missing from the three boats that went down in the South China Sea roughly 300 kilometers from the Chinese island of Hainan, the local government said Tuesday.
Twenty-two ships and four planes are combing the area for the missing men, the state-run news agency Xinhua reported, citing Hainan maritime authorities.
Rescue operations have been hampered by strong gales and rough seas.
Two of the vessels foundered Sunday afternoon as they battled gales, and the third one sank Monday morning.
A total of five fishing boats with 171 crew aboard were caught in the storm, the Hainan Maritime Search and Rescue Center said, according to Xinhua. The two other vessels managed to survive the harsh conditions.
All three boats that sank were from the southern Chinese province of Guangdong. Fourteen of the fishermen were rescued on Monday.
President Xi Jinping on Monday urged local authorities to do their utmost to find the missing or stranded and minimize casualties, state media reported. Xi also ordered the armed forces and central government departments to help in the rescue effort.
The storm affecting the region, Typhoon Wutip, made landfall in central Vietnam late Monday, weakening as it moved inland.
Three people have been killed as a result of the storm, the state-run Vietnam News Agency reported Tuesday, citing the regional center for flood and storm prevention.
Vietnamese authorities had relocated tens of thousands of people from areas at risk as the storm approached.
-- CNN's CY Xu in Beijing and Elizabeth Joseph in Hong Kong contributed to this report.
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