About 50 Chinese fishing boats were illegally fishing in western South Korean waters off Gunsan city, about 170 miles (270 kilometers) south of Seoul, on Saturday when a South Korean coast guard ship approached them to try to curb illegal fishing activities, according to the coast guard.
The boat that capsized had intentionally hit the larger coast guard ship, apparently to help its compatriots sail back to Chinese waters, coast guard official Roh Sang-gue said.
Five people from the capsized boat were rescued by Chinese fishing boats while four others were plucked from the sea by the coast guard ship, said Roh. But one of four sailors rescued by South Korea later died at a Gunsan hospital, Roh said. Coast guard boats are trying to find the missing Chinese sailor, he said.
“Questioning is under way for the three Chinese why their ship hit the coast guard vessel,” Roh said, without giving any further details.