02 Jul 2022, 16:34

Dozens missing in shipwreck during South China Sea typhoon

HONG KONG, July 2, 2022 (BSS/AFP) - More than two dozen crew members are 
unaccounted for after their ship broke into two during a typhoon in the South 
China Sea on Saturday, with rescuers scrambling to find them, officials say.

An engineering vessel that was 160 nautical miles southwest of Hong Kong 
"suffered substantial damage and broke into two pieces" and the 30-member 
crew abandoned ship, according to the Hong Kong Government Flying Service.

Three people had been rescued as of 3:00pm local time (0700 GMT) and were 
taken to hospital for treatment, authorities said.

Dramatic footage provided by Hong Kong authorities showed a person being 
airlifted onto a helicopter while waves crashed over the deck of the semi-
submerged ship below. 

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

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

Rescuers in Hong Kong were notified of the incident at 7:25am local time 
(2325 GMT on Friday) and found the ship near Chaba's centre, where harsh 
weather conditions and nearby wind farms made the operation "more difficult 
and dangerous".

The ship's location recorded wind speeds of 144 kilometres per hour and waves 
that were 10 metres high, authorities said.

The Government Flying Service dispatched two sorties of fixed-wing aircraft 
and four helicopter sorties, with mainland Chinese authorities also 
dispatching 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