At least seven workers died and another five are missing after the barge on which they were at work on the construction of a port platform capsized off the coast of the South Korean port city of Ulsan, KBS television reported Saturday.

The accident occurred late Friday, when the 2,600-metric ton Seokjeong-36, carrying a large crane for pouring cement, capsized, apparently because of the severe weather conditions.

Twelve workers were rescued soon after the accident, and by dawn Saturday seven lifeless bodies had been recovered, according to KBS, citing coast guard officials.

Authorities are continuing their search for the five workers who went missing in the area, where about 20 boats and two aircraft have joined in the hunt, the channel said.

The accident took place some 4 kilometers (2 1/2 miles) southeast of Seoul.

According to the South Korean news agency Yonhap, everything indicates that the breaking of the 80-meter (260-foot) crane by the high winds caused the barge to capsize, though the details of the incident are still under investigation. EFE