Police have identified three fishermen's bodies retrieved from the South China Sea after Typhoon Wutip as of Friday morning, while the search for another 58 missing continues.


"We have informed their families of the sad news and we will help them deal with the aftermath," said Chen Jialin, vice mayor of Jiangmen, Guangdong Province, who is now in Sanya of Hainan Province to receive the rescued fishermen back home.


Earlier at 4 a.m., 54 fishermen from Jiangmen started their journey home by bus and they were expected to arrive at 7 p.m. on Friday, said Chen.


Chinese government sent a navy ship to fetch 268 fishermen who were trapped by Typhoon Wutip in the South China Sea. The vessel arrived in Sanya on Thursday morning.


The injured have been hospitalized, while more ships have been sent to search for another 58 fishermen, who remain missing after three fishing boats sank near Shanhu Island in the Xisha Islands, about 330 km from China's island province of Hainan, due to Typhoon Wutip on Sunday afternoon.


According to the Hainan Maritime Search and Rescue Center, 11 navy warships, eight civilian ships and 10 aircraft are continuing to search the area where the boats sank.


Altogether five fishing boats, including the three that sank, were caught in Typhoon Wutip on Sunday, according to the Hainan Maritime Search and Rescue Center.


The fishermen had received typhoon warnings starting on Friday but did not go ashore. Instead, they placed their ships in a lagoon south of Shanhu Island to avoid gales, but the typhoon overturned their boats.


Wutip gathered power, becoming a super typhoon when it swept across nearby waters on Sunday, packing winds of up to 151.2 km per hour at its eye.


Strong gales and waves have hampered the rescue work, but the sea water temperature in the area is over 20 degrees Celsius, which means a higher chance of survival, according to rescuers. 


SOURCE: Xinhua


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