Nine people have died and seven remain missing after a fishing boat sank off the coast of the northeastern Chinese seaport of Dalian, maritime authorities said.

The boat with 17 people on board sank in the wee hours of Wednesday amid strong waves during an attempt to hook the boat to a larger vessel, the authorities said.

The bodies of nine of the fishermen were recovered at around 3:30 p.m., while another seven people are still missing.

The only person rescued from the sinking boat is listed is good condition at a hospital in Liaoning province, where Dalian is located.

Authorities said a rescue operation involving a helicopter, seven maritime patrol vessels and 120 other boats was still ongoing. EFE