Coast Guard hunts for sunken ship's crew
Two Coast Guard airplanes from Barbers Point are continuing their part of the search today 375 miles northwest of Guam for 12 crew members of a 420-foot Chinese freighter that sank Tuesday in high seas and winds from Typhoon Man-yi.
Coast Guard spokesman Lt. John Titchen said 10 crew members from the freighter Hai Tong No. 7 were pulled from the water Wednesday by the motor vessels Ikan Bilis and Horizon Falcon.
Titchen said the typhoon, which originated near Guam and struck Okinawa yesterday, caused the freighter's cargo, which included large logs, to shift.
Titchen said the ship encountered winds of 70 to 80 mph and 24-foot waves.
The search area covered 400 square miles, with waves about 18 to 20 feet high. Winds are reported to be about 13 mph.
The Chinese freighter is owned by Fuzhou Haijing Shipping and had left Papua New Guinea for China.
Two of the eight people rescued by the Ikan Bilis were injured when the freighter sank and will be taken to Guam.
The Horizon Falcon rescued two people, who will be taken to China.
The Ikan Bilis and the Horizon Falcon were among the six civilian vessels that joined the Navy and Coast Guard in the search for survivors.
A Navy P-3 Orion patrol aircraft from Kadena Air Base, Okinawa, spotted survivors wearing orange life jackets or survival suits floating among debris that included timber.
At 11 a.m. Tuesday an emergency beacon registered to the Hai Tong No. 7 began broadcasting a distress signal, the Coast Guard said. The Coast Guard issued an urgent marine broadcast asking mariners in the area to assist.
The Ikan Bilis reported an oil slick and debris in the area of the ship's last signal.
Also responding to the distress call was the Coast Guard cutter Sequoia from Guam. Four other vessels -- Konmax, Clipper Lagoon, Coral Emerald and R.J. Pfieffer, along with Navy and Coast Guard aircrews -- continued to search for the remaining crew members.
"The immediate response by so many mariners is impressive," said Cmdr. Frank Genco, chief of the Coast Guard's search and rescue branch in Honolulu. "Mariners truly understand the importance of helping out their fellow sailors."
Weather authorities said Man-yi continued to threaten Japan and the Ryukyu Islands today as it curves northeastward along the island chain, bringing extreme winds and torrential rain to the area.
The typhoon was expected to stay at Category 4 status for much of today before decreasing to a Category 3 storm early tomorrow. Strengthening winds were expected on Kyushu ahead of the typhoon, with Kyushu and southern Honshu expecting extremely heavy rain.
The Associated Press contributed to this story.