Zee Media Bureau
Beijing: Two Chinese boats fell prey to Typhoon Wutip and sank near disputed islands in South China Sea 300 km off island province of Hainan, leaving 74 people on board unaccounted for, reports said.
Battling strong gales of typhoon Wutip, the two boats - both from south China`s Guangdong Province - sank near the disputed islands called Xisha by China and Paracel by Vietnam Islands.
14 people have been rescued even as the search operation was hampered by strong gales, the state-run Xinhua news agency reported.
Beyond the two known to have foundered, contact has been lost with a third vessel. China`s maritime authority yesterday upgraded its wave warning from yellow to orange, the second-highest of a four- tier color-coded weather warning system, as the typhoon approached land.
Altogether five fishing boats with a total of 171 people aboard were caught by Typhoon Wutip, the 21st of the season.