A fishing boat caught fire in waters of China’s Hainan Island on Monday, trapping and killing one of the six fishermen on board.

Explosions were heard on the scene. The other five were rescued, according to state news agency Xinhua.

Fishing boat on fire. Photo: Sina News.

Photos showed the wooden vessel engulfed in flames and black smoke.

Fishing boat on fire. Photo: chinanews.com

The accident happened in water off Wenchang city at around 6am Monday. By the time marine police arrived, the boat had been damaged badly and explosions could be heard, Xinhua said. Rescuers used a high-pressure water gun to battle the blaze.

Smoke comes out of fishing boat. Photo: chinanews.com

Five fishermen who fell into the sea were rescued. One person was trapped inside the vessel. His body was later retrieved.

A rescue vessel ejects water onto the fishing boat. Photo: China Daily on Weibo

The boat sunk into the sea in the afternoon, Xinhua said. Illegal fishing is suspected as the vessel was not registered with the government. Investigators are looking into the cause of the fire.

Vivienne Zeng

Vivienne Zeng is a journalist from China with three years' experience covering Hong Kong and mainland affairs. She has an MA in journalism from the University of Hong Kong. Her work has been featured on outlets such as Al Jazeera+ and MSNBC.