MANILA, Philippines (Xinhua) - A transiting cargo ship on Friday rescued 24 Filipino fishermen whose ship sank off the northern Philippine province of Pangasinan after venturing into fishing in the South China Sea at the height of a tropical depression, an official of the Office of Civil Defense (OCD) said.
Andrew Alex Uy, a regional director of the OCD, said MV Sea Palace picked up the 24 fishermen, not 26 as previously reported by another official, upon coordination by a Philippine Navy islander plane tasked to conduct an aerial search.
Uy said the fishermen went on fishing aboard the F/B 3MS Wolf. On their way back to Pangasinan yesterday afternoon, the fishing boat lost radio contact, prompting the search.
Earlier, National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council executive officer and OCD administrator Benito Ramos said the fishermen were numbering 26.
At around 12 noon Friday, Uy said, a Navy aircraft spotted the fishermen floating in the water with their life jackets 70.4 kilometers northwest of Bolinao town, Pangasinan province.
The aircraft then spotted the transiting cargo vessel.
"The Navy established communication, it coordinated with the MV Sea Palace to pick up the victims and ferry them..All of them are alive and were rescued," said Uy, adding the cargo ship was due to arrive at Bolinao 4:30 p.m Friday.