A maritime rescue official says a Vietnam-registered fishing boat has capsized off the Chinese coast leaving 27 fishermen missing.

The official from the South China Sea Salvage Bureau says the vessel named Phu Tan capsized on Thursday morning after being hit by heavy winds and waves. It sank 110 nautical miles west of Sanya city on the southern island of Hainan. The nationalities of the missing men are unclear.

The official surnamed Wang says rescue boats are expected to reach the site later on Thursday. Mr. Wang says 20-feet (six-meter) waves and strong winds make the chances of finding survivors slim.

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