SEOUL (Reuters) - At least eight people died and about 10 were missing after a South Korean fishing boat capsized, a coast guard official and media reports said on Sunday.

The boat was found capsized earlier this morning, after it lost radio contact late on Saturday, a coast guard official in the southern island of Jeju said by telephone.

The bodies of eight people were recovered in the waters near the island of Chuja, which lies between the mainland south coast and Jeju, the official said.

Three people were pulled from the water and airlifted to hospitals, the coast guard official said, adding they were expected to survive.

Another coast guard official said the boat was initially reported to have taken 18 to 19 people, but an unknown number of others were also believed to be on board.

Most of them were on a fishing expedition on Saturday to Chuja, a popular fishing area, the official said.

President Park Geun-hye has called on the rescue and recovery services to do their utmost in the search for the missing, her office said in a statement.

In April 2014, a passenger ferry, Sewol, sank off the southwest coast killing about 300 people, most of them children on a school outing, triggering a national outrage over what was seen as an ineffective rescue operation.

(Reporting by Hooyeon Kim; Editing by Himani Sarkar)