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(2nd LD) Cruise ship runs aground off southwest coast, passengers rescued

2014/09/30 17:59

SHINAN, South Korea, Sept. 30 (Yonhap) -- A cruise ship carrying 105 passengers and five crew members ran aground in waters off a southwestern island on Tuesday, but everyone on board was rescued with 10 people sustaining minor injuries, the Coast Guard said.

The accident took place around 9:14 a.m., when the 171-ton vessel Vacance hit a submerged rock in waters not far from Hongdo Island, South Jeolla Province.

The Coast Guard said its officers rushed to the scene upon receiving a distress call and rescued all of those aboard the ship in 30 minutes with the help of nearby fishing boats and cruise ships.

The injured passengers were receiving treatment in nearby hospitals, according to news reports.

"The ship suddenly stopped with a thundering noise as it approached closer to oddly shaped rocks and stones," a 50-year-old passenger who was aboard the ship told Yonhap News Agency by phone.

He said the ship was in chaos with some passengers falling down due to the impact of the crash and hurting their heads.

But the passengers regained their stability soon, helping each other to put on lifejackets and calmly following instructions from the crew members, he added.

The rescued passengers were taken to a port on the island to wait for a ferry bound for the southwestern port of Mokpo.

The excursion ship left the Hongdo port early in the morning for a cruise around the scenic island.

The accident came more than five months after the ferry Sewol sank in waters off the southwestern island of Jindo, killing more than 300 people.