SL Navy recovers 14 bodies from capsized Chinese fishing vessel on high seas

Sri Lanka Navy conducted a search and rescue (SAR) operation to assist the ongoing operations of the capsized Chinese fishing vessel Lu Peng Yuan Yu 028, where 14 bodies were recovered.

In a statement, the Sri Lanka Navy said SLNS Vijayabahu, the SL Navy’s offshore patrol vessel with a team of Navy divers was directed to engage in the mission on the directives of Commander of the Navy, Vice Admiral Priyantha Perera.

“As the Navy arrived on the scene, the regional stakeholders had already commenced extensive aeronautical and surface search in the area of the overturned Chinese fishing vessel. Having reached the location, the Navy divers searched for air pockets within the upturned vessel, hoping to find any survivors. After strenuous diving amidst the challenges of zero visibility and enormous water turbulence, the Navy divers recovered 02 bodies from the captain’s cabin and accommodation area and they were handed over to the Tug De Tian at the scene,” it said.

“The Navy divers also recovered 12 more bodies of the crew from various compartments of the vessel. Due to decomposition and potential health hazards posed by operating in contaminated waters with limited protective gear, it was determined that retrieving those bodies would be exceedingly dangerous. Next, the decision was made to map the locations of the bodies, while prioritizing the safety of the SLN divers,” the statement added.