• Kyodo

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Responding to a distress signal from a fishing boat, the Japan Coast Guard rescued 23 men Thursday morning from life rafts drifting off Nagasaki Prefecture and found one body.

They are believed to be among the 28 crew members, including Chinese, South Koreans and Indonesians, of the 73-ton Belize-registered fishing boat Sol Fresh, the JCG said.

The coast guard searched for the five remaining crew members and retrieved a body from the sea later in the day, believed to be one of the missing, it said.

A distress signal from a point southwest of Fukue Island in the Goto island chain was received at 1:10 a.m.

The area was searched and one raft, carrying 13 crew members, was found about 22 km southwest of the Osezaki area of the island.

They were rescued by a coast guard patrol boat at 7:40 a.m.

Another raft was found after 10 a.m. and 10 crew members, including the South Korean skipper, Ha Ho Don, 57, were rescued.

The fate of their vessel was unknown.

The Sol Fresh left Pusan, South Korea, on Tuesday, bound for a fishing ground near the Solomon Islands, the coast guard said. In addition to the skipper, 20 Chinese and seven Indonesians were on board.

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