The South Korean coast guard boat then capsized after rescuing 15 Chinese and Filipino sailors from the cargo ship, which eventually sank. The rescued sailors and the South Korean boat’s crew were plucked from the water but five were unconscious and later died in a hospital. One coast guard officer was injured. (Photo credit to Yonhap news agency)

SEOUL – Three OFW sailors were killed last Thursday when a South Korean coastguard boat tip over after rescuing them from a sinking cargo ship.

According to Yonhap news agency, they confirmed that 3 of the dead sailors were from the Philippines, and the 2 others were from China.

According to a coastguard spokesperson, the boat turn over while carrying 15 crew members rescued from the 5,436-tonne Malaysia-registered Shinline freighter close to the southern island of Jeju.

5 died in the incident. 10 of the freighter’s crew were rescued unhurt by another coastguard vessel involved in the operation and all of the coastguards who were also present survived.

A total of 13 Chinese and 6 Filipino crew members were aboard the freighter. They were en route to Singapore when they radioed for help when the ship started sinking and fast water was submerging the ship.

The spokesman stated, of 2 coastguard boats involved in the operation, 1 overturned because of high waves,” adding that the rescued sailors and coastguard officers were taken immediately to a hospital in Jeju.

Jeju coastguard chief Cho Joon-Eo stated that, “The conditions were extremely bad and the freighter could have gone underwater at any moment. We had no other choice but to try to rescue as many sailors as we could.”