11 more bodies of crew of sunken South Korea trawler found in sea, 41 still missing

SEOUL (AFP) - Eleven more bodies were recovered on Wednesday from the area where a South Korean trawler sank in the Bering Sea as hopes dimmed of finding any survivors among 41 crew members still missing.

The 11 comprise seven Indonesians, three South Koreans and a Filipino, the South Korean foreign ministry said in a press statement.

A total of 12 bodies have now been recovered while seven people were rescued, leaving 41 still unaccounted for.

"They were all wearing lifejackets when they were found by rescue vessels," said a spokesman for the vessel's South Korean owner, Sajo Industries.

The bodies were recovered around nine miles south-west of the spot where the 1,753-tonne Oryong 501 trawler, with 60 people on board, went down in rough, icy seas on Monday.

A total of seven bodies have now been recovered and seven people were rescued, leaving 46 still unaccounted for.

A US coast guard plane has been helping the South Korean and Russian ships scouring the area, and a US vessel specialised in search and rescue operations was due to arrive early Thursday, a Seoul Foreign Ministry official said.

The discovery of four empty, damaged lifeboats on Tuesday fuelled concerns that the missing crew members were pitched into the freezing waters when the boat sank.

Those on board included 11 South Koreans, 35 Indonesians, 13 Philippine crew members and a Russian identified by Russian news agencies as a fisheries inspector.

The inspector was among those rescued.