x Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 24 July 2017

Search scaled back after S Korea ship sinks

A South Korean fishing boat has sank in freezing waters near Antarctica leaving five members of the crew dead and 17 missing.

A South Korean fishing boat has sank in freezing waters near Antarctica leaving five members of the crew dead and 17 missing, New Zealand and South Korean authorities said.

Twenty members of the crew of the 614-tonne, 58-metre (190-foot) toothfish boat No 1 InSung had been rescued by a ship.

The boat sank at 6.30am (5.30pm GMT) about 1,850 km north of Antarctica and 2,700 km south of New Zealand, the country's Rescue Coordination Centre said.

It was not known what caused the ship to sink and no distress call had been made, the centre said.

Information from the ship carrying the survivors suggested the boat sank quickly, giving crew no time to put on life jackets or immersion suits, the centre said.

The search has been scaled back with three South Korean vessels looking for the missing men. Two New Zealand vessels have stopped searching and an aircraft would not be sent.

"Unfortunately, given the short survival times in water of those temperatures and the length of time it would take for the ... aircraft to reach the search area, it was not a viable option," said the New Zealand rescue centre controller Dave Wilson.