Ischemia death toll rises to 5 from 4, including four crew members
A total of five people are confirmed to have died in the incident involving the Japanese Coast Guard vessel HMAS Inukami, which capsized off the coast of the Philippines in the South China Sea on Friday.
It is the third vessel to be hit by the Japanese Navy this year, and the first in the sea off the Philippines.
The Japanese Coast Guardship is the only one of its kind in the Asia-Pacific region, and its collision with the Japanese-built ship is the most serious maritime incident to occur in the region in recent times.
The Philippine coast guard confirmed the deaths to CNN Philippines.
All five people aboard were on the ship.
One crew member, who was identified as Captain Hironaka Hiraishi, was transferred to hospital after he was seriously injured by a sharp object in the water, according to the coast guard.
Hiraoki’s fellow crew member was not seriously injured, and he has since been transferred to a hospital in Manila, the coastguard said.
The Coast Guard’s Hiraoka-class patrol ship HMAS Yushin Maru was also damaged in the collision.
The ship was dispatched to assist the search and rescue team on Friday to assist a missing Japanese crew member.
It has been sailing off the northern Philippine island of Palawan and into the South Chinese Sea.
“The ship was conducting search operations, when it encountered the Japanese vessel, which was located on a reef at an elevation of about 12 meters (40 feet),” the coast defense official told CNN Philippines, using a sea-speak term for a reef.
The collision happened at a depth of 20 to 25 meters (66 to 71 feet), and the Coast Guard says it is investigating the cause of the collision and how the collision occurred.
The coast guard says that in the past year, the Japanese government has deployed more than 50 patrol ships to the region.
The ships patrol at depths of between 6,000 and 7,000 meters (21,000 to 27,000 feet) in the area, but are designed to only respond to and assist shipwreck detection.
The Japan Coast Guard said on Friday that it has deployed a search and recovery team of around 10 personnel, with two vessels on the scene, and that the ship was not injured.
The search and rescuers are on a “high alert,” according to a statement by the Japan Coast Guards Agency, and are seeking help from the local communities and fishermen.
The agency said the search will continue “until the Japanese ship is found,” but the search operation has been suspended.
Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has expressed concern over the recent incidents in the East China Sea and the South and Southeast China Seas, and called for an international investigation into the incident.