Five fishermen were rescued, one still missing after a fishing boat hit a reef and sank off the Nanpeng Islands in the South China Sea on Saturday.

The maritime rescue sub-center of Shantou City, south China's Guangdong Province, received the distress call at 04:27 and immediately launched the rescue work.

Five rescue vessels and one helicopter were dispatched to the accident spot. Three sister fishing boats of the accident boat and other passing merchant ships also participated in the rescue operation.

The accident boat had sunk completely and its fishermen were waiting for rescue on a life raft when the rescue team arrived at the spot.

The wind force was around 20 meters per second and the waves were as high as four to five meters, posing harsh challenges to the rescue work.

So far fiver fishermen have been rescued through helicopter while one is still missing.

The search and rescue work is still underway.

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