Dozens missing in shipwreck during South China Sea typhoon | World News

More than two dozen crew members are missing after their ship broke in two during a storm in the South China Sea on Saturday, with rescuers scrambling to find them, officials say.

The engineering vessel, about 160 nautical miles southwest of Hong Kong, “suffered substantial damage and broke into two pieces” and the 30-member crew abandoned ship, the Hong Kong State Flying Service said.

At 3:00 pm local time (0700 GMT) three people were rescued and taken to hospital for treatment, officials said.

Dramatic footage provided by Hong Kong authorities showed a man being hoisted into a helicopter as waves crashed onto the deck of the semi-submerged ship below.

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

Typhoon Chaba Chaba had earlier formed in the central part of the South China Sea and made landfall in southern China’s Guangdong province on Saturday afternoon.

Rescuers in Hong Kong were alerted to the incident at 7:25 a.m. local time (2325 GMT Friday) and found the vessel near the center of Chaba, where harsh weather conditions and nearby wind farms made operations “more difficult and dangerous.”

Officials said wind speeds of 144 kilometers per hour and waves of 10 meters high were recorded at the ship’s location.

The state flying service dispatched two types of fixed-wing aircraft and four helicopters, while mainland Chinese authorities also dispatched a rescue boat.

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 permit.

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