Twenty-seven people are missing after their boat was split in two by a typhoon in the South China Sea on Saturday, the Hong Kong government’s air support service announced.
The engineering vessel was 160 nautical miles southwest of Hong Kong when it was hit by storm Chaba. “She was severely damaged and broke in two,” the Hong Kong Government Flying Service said.
Help was dispatched to the scene after receiving the notification around 0725 (2325 GMT Friday).
Three of the 30 crew members could be rescued at 3:00 p.m. local time and were taken to hospital, authorities said.
Footage provided by the Hong Kong government shows a person being rescued as waves crash against the deck of the half-submerged ship.
According to the three survivors, other members of the crew could have been swept away by the waves before the arrival of the first helicopter, according to a statement from the authorities.
Typhoon Chaba formed in the center of the South China Sea and made landfall on Saturday afternoon in the country’s southern Guangdong province.
The place where the ship was located registered winds of 144 kilometers per hour and waves up to ten meters high, the authorities specified.
The rescue teams will expand the search area “due to the large number of missing people” and will extend the operation into the night if weather conditions allow it.