Eight people died and 13 were injured after a raft capsized off the coast of Beihai, Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region, on Monday morning, local authorities said.
The accident happened in Beihai's Tieshangang district, when the raft, with 61 villagers on board, was returning from a fishing trip.
Before it capsized it had grounded in water 1.5 meters deep.
The owner of the raft, who was on board at the time of accident, has been detained by police.
The city initiated an emergency rescue plan as soon as the accident took place and dispatched one helicopter, five rescue vessels and over 60 volunteers to undertake search and rescue work. Thirty-seven members of the national emergency medical team helped send the injured to hospital for treatment.
Thirty-nine villagers have returned safely to their homes.
An investigation team has been set up to discover the cause of the accident.