Dozens feared dead as ship sinks in South China Sea | hong kong


More than two dozen crew members are unaccounted for after their ship broke in two during a typhoon in the South China Sea on Saturday, with rescuers scrambling to find them, officials have said.

Authorities dispatched planes and helicopters to help with the rescue. At least three people from the crew of 30 had been brought to safety as of 5.30pm local time (1030 GMT).

Photos released by the Hong Kong Government Flying Service showed one crew member being winched up to a rescue helicopter as big waves lashed the sinking ship.

The engineering vessel, which was 160 nautical miles (296km) south-west of Hong Kong, “suffered substantial damage and broke into two pieces” and the 30-member crew abandoned ship, according to the Flying Service.

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The Flying Service did not give the name or origin of the vessel. It said in a statement that crew members were negotiating difficulties brought on by severe tropical storm Chaba, with maximum winds of 110 km/h (68mph).

The three survivors said other crew members might have been swept away by waves before the first helicopter arrived, according to a government statement.

The storm made landfall in the western part of China’s Guangdong province later on Saturday. The Flying Service sent two fixed-wing aircraft and four helicopters for the rescue effort.

Rescuers said they would increase the search area “due to the large number of people missing” and extend the operation into the night if conditions allowed.


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