3 More Survivors Found Near Sunken Chinese Cargo Ship

HONOLULU — Coast Guard and Good Samaritan rescuers today continue to search waters approximately 375 miles northwest of Guam for six people still missing from the sunken container ship Hai Tong #7, which apparently went down in heavy weather July 10 during the passage of Typhoon Man-Yi.

Overnight, three more survivors were recovered from the water. The bodies of three other crewmembers were also recovered. A total of 16 of the 22-person crew have been accounted for; eight of the 13 survivors are receiving medical attention in Guam.

The Coast Guard cutter Sequoia arrived on scene July 13 at about midnight Hawaii Standard Time to coordinate the search operation on scene. The Good Samaritan vessels Clipper Lagoon, Emerald India, New Leader, and Rkiura Maru are searching on the water’s surface, while overhead a Coast Guard C-130 crew directs the vessels to debris in the water.

The Good Samaritan vessels and crews and rescue search planes and crews have searched for a combined 140 hours and have scoured an area approximately 100 square miles because the debris field is so contained.

The Coast Guard was first alerted to a possible distress at 11 a.m. Hawaii Standard Time July 10 when an emergency position indicating radio beacon (EPIRB) registered to the Hai Tong #7 began signaling. The Horizon Falcon arrived on scene at the beacon’s last known position July 11 and discovered people in the water, an oil slick and other debris. The Horizon Falcon and the Ikan Bilis, both container vessels, rescued 10 people from the water.

A Navy P-3 airplane and crew from Kadena Air Force Base in Okinawa, Japan, a Navy P-3 airplane and crew from Misawa Naval Air Station in Misawa, Japan, two Coast Guard C-130 search planes and crews from Honolulu, and the Coast Guard cutter Sequoia from Guam were sent to respond to the distress by Coast Guard search and rescue controllers coordinating the rescue effort from Honolulu. At least seven different commercial vessels have responded as well.

The Hai Tong #7 is a 420-foot Panamanian-flagged cargo ship, owned by Fuzhou Haijing Shipping, and was bound for China from Papua-New Guinea. Survivors reported the cargo began shifting as the vessel made its way through 70-mph winds and 24-foot seas during the passage of Typhoon Man-Yi.

The eight Hai Tong # 7 crewmembers receiving medical attention in Guam were brought to shore at about 8 a.m. July 13 Hawaii Standard Time, by the Coast Guard cutter Assateague, a 110-foot patrol boat home ported in Guam.

One of the survivors was overheard to have said to a Coast Guard rescuer through a Chinese translator that the crew of the Hai Tong #7 knew they were close to Guam and if they could turn the EPIRB on they would get help.

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