Three Dead in Antarctic Fishing Boat Fire


By Nick Perry

WELLINGTON, New Zealand (AP) — Fire raged out of control on a fishing ship near Antarctica which left three fishermen dead, and two of the 37 rescued had severe burns.

Rescue coordinators said help given by a nearby sister ship and another fishing vessel likely prevented a worse outcome. Two unconscious, severely burned men were taken off the flaming ship by crane, and five crew members suffered moderate burns.

The South Korean ship continued to burn and appeared to be sinking, said Mike Roberts, the senior search and rescue officer with the Rescue Coordination Centre of New Zealand.

The Jung Woo 2, travelling in the Ross Sea became engulfed in flames about 370 miles north of the U.S. McMurdo Station Antarctic base.

The fire appears to have started in the living quarters of the 167-foot ship and spread quickly to the engine room and fish-processing plant. The boat crew’s firefighting teams were unable to squelch its progress.

A distress call was sent before 3 a.m. New Zealand time. Anarctic vessels often operate in shifts around the clock thanks to long daylight hours in the southern summer.

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