A 27-year-old fisherman from Phu Yen Province, who was attacked by a swordfish, is the latest to be rescued by Vietnamese soldiers stationed on the Truong Sa (Spratly) archipelago.
On Sunday the family of Le Tri Hoang confirmed that he had been rescued in a critical condition but was recovering well after being attacked on May 31.
Hoang was one of 10 fishermen on board PY90631TS owned by Doan Van Bong when it went fishing in the Truong Sa area.
The accident occurred on the morning of May 31 when Hoang got into the water to collect the fishing net. He said a swordfish weighing about 20 kilograms suddenly attacked, stabbing it sword through his right feet.
Their boat was then 120 nautical miles southwest of Truong Sa, and it took a whole day for it reach an island.
Army medical personnel said Hoang had been unconscious and his blood pressure had been down due to blood loss. His injured foot, with the sword still impaled, had been seriously infected.
They said it would take him 10 to 15 days to fully recover from the surgery.
Many fishermen said they have been seeking help from soldiers and residents on Truong Sa in emergencies.
Tran Quang Nguyen, owner of another fishing boat based in Phu Yen, said two weeks ago his boat ran out of fuel when fishing to the south of Truong Sa due to a leaky fuel tank.
After floating at sea for several days he and his crew were saved by a rescue boat from Da Tay Island.
The soldiers gave them free health examinations and fuel to return home, he said.
Phung, an offshore tuna fisherman, said a fishing trip could take around a month and fuel, food, and fresh water could run out if they had to take shelter from a storm.
But several islands in Truong Sa help them with fresh water and medicine in emergencies.
"It costs up to VND150 million for an offshore fishing trip. It could mean a big loss if we have to return home in case of storm," he said.