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Over 24 crew members missing in shipwreck during typhoon in South China Sea

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Rescuers said they would increase the search area “due to the large number of missing people”.

Hong Kong:

With more than two dozen crew members unaccounted for during a storm in the South China Sea on Saturday, rescuers are scrambling to find them, officials say.

According to the Hong Kong Government Flying Service, an engineering vessel which was 160 nautical miles south-west of Hong Kong, “had considerable damage and broke into two pieces” and the 30-man crew abandoned the ship.

By 3 p.m. (0700 GMT) local time, three people had been rescued and taken to hospital for treatment, officials said.

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

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

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

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

The ship’s location recorded wind speeds of up to 144 kilometers per hour and waves as high as 10 meters, officials said.

The Government Flying Service sent two flights of fixed-wing aircraft and four helicopter sorties, as well as a rescue boat by mainland Chinese officials.

Rescuers said they would increase the search area “due to the large number of missing” and if circumstances allowed, the operation would be extended into the night.

(Except for the title, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)

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