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Vietnam counts dead and looks for survivors in Typhoon Chanchu's wake

Published May 20, 2006

HANOI, Vietnam - At least 150 Vietnamese fishermen were missing at sea and 28 others were found dead after their boats presumably sank during Typhoon Chanchu, a border official said Friday.

Eleven boats carrying 221 fishermen from the central city of Danang sank during the typhoon, and at least some of the men were unaccounted for, said Nguyen Ba Luong, a border control officer.

It was unclear when the boats sank, but their last communication was around noon Wednesday, Luong said.

On Friday, 60 people were pulled from the water alive and 24 were found dead, he said. It was unclear whether they had been on the 11 boats that sank.

The survivors were located somewhere between Taiwan and the Philippines and have made contact with authorities.

In a separate incident, another group of fishermen from Quang Ngai province also got into trouble during the storm. Four bodies were pulled from the water, while one person was found alive.

The search continued for 22 others still missing after their boats sank in Chinese waters, said Nguyen Sau of the Quang Ngai border control.

"If they have lifeboats, the possibility of them being alive and rescued is higher," Sau said of the missing, adding that the weather has improved but the sea was still rough.

Vietnam has asked China to help search for the missing, and to allow the Vietnamese fishermen to patrol the area for survivors, Sau said.

The Asia-wide death toll from Chanchu has reached 91, including 37 in the Philippines and the latest 28 in Vietnam.

Chanchu was downgraded to a tropical storm as it reached China's heavily populated southern coast Thursday, but was still powerful enough to cause landslides and flooding, forcing the evacuation of more than 1-million people.

[Last modified May 20, 2006, 07:55:17]

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