10 Vietnamese fishermen rescued after 2 days at sea in tiny traditional basket boats

HANOI, Vietnam (AP) — Ten Vietnamese fishermen have been rescued after floating in rough seas in tiny traditional basket boats for two days after a tropical storm sunk their fishing trawler, an official said Thursday.

The men had been missing since Monday when their boat sank during tropical storm Mindulle. Three rescue boats and a helicopter had been unable to locate them.

Finally on Wednesday night, two fishing trawlers spotted the men floating in traditional round woven bamboo boats, which measure about 8 feet (2.5 meters) in diameter and are guided by one oar, said Tran Van Long, head of the maritime rescue operations center in central Danang City.

Seven fishermen rescued from one basket boat were released from a hospital Thursday after health checkup, he said. The other three were in another boat and were still on their way back to shore.

Long said the fishermen saw the rescue helicopter fly overhead twice but could not get the pilot's attention.

Mindulle, which hit Vietnam's north-central coast Tuesday, killed 10 people and injured 64 others, according to the national floods and storms control committee.

The storm also damaged 47,000 homes and 158,000 acres (64,000 hectares) of rice fields, it said.