HAIKOU, March 3 ( ChinaMil) --Eight fisherman from Hainan Province have been rescued with the help of Chinese navy after their fishing boat grounded in waters near the Fiery Cross Reef in the South China Sea.
All eight fishermen onboard the fishing boat were picked up in a military-civilian joint rescue operation, according to China's Ministry of Transport on Wednesday.
After receiving a request for help at 11pm of Feb. 28 from the fishing boat Hainan Lin'gao Fishing 11003 registered in South China’s Hainan province, the Hainan Provincial Maritime Search and Rescue Center immediately contacted nearby fishing boats to head to the scene. At the same time, the center also sent a report call to the PLA Navy asking for participation of naval ships in the rescue operation.
Three nearby fishing boats wasted no time to rush to the stranded fishing boat, but they were blocked by strong winds, big waves and reefs in waters two nautical miles away from the boat. In the wee hours of Wednesday, another fishing boat got within one nautical mile from the stranded boat, but it had to halt again for the same reasons and wait until daytime.
Just before 8 am on Wednesday, a ship-borne helicopter took off from a naval ship attached to PLA Navy's South China Sea Fleet, which was navigating in waters near the Fiery Cross Reef, to rescue the stranded fishermen.
All eight men were safely evacuated to the naval ship by the helicopter in the 1.5-hour rescue operation.