Dozens Missing After South Korean Ship Sinks Off Russian Coast

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A Russian-flagged tanker vessel is pictured in the Bering Sea January 12, 2012. US Coast Guard/Seaman Mathew Rupp/Reuters

MOSCOW/SEOUL (Reuters) - One person was killed and the fate of more than 50 others was unknown after a South Korean fishing vessel sank in the Bering Sea off the coast of Russia's far eastern Chukotka region officials said on Monday.

"When the fish were being hauled in, the vessel was hit by a wave," said Artur Rets, the head of the maritime rescue service in Russia's far eastern port of Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky, adding the South Korean vessel Oriong-501 had sunk at 0530 GMT (0030 ET).

He said rescuers had managed to pull eight people out of the water so far, including one who had died.

"According to our data there were 62 people on board," Rets said. "The fate of the others is not known."

The South Korean fisheries ministry said the 36-year-old vessel operated by Sajo Industries had 60 people on board, including one Russian, 11 South Koreans, 13 Filipinos and 35 Indonesians.

It said the dead person was a South Korean and that those rescued included the Russian. It said the rescue operation was hampered by bad weather conditions.