Man rescued two days after Hong Kong ship sinking but dozens still missing

·2-min read

A fourth member has been rescued from a 30-person crew onboard a Chinese ship that split in two and sank after waves from a powerful typhoon hit it in the South China Sea.

The rescue happened on Monday morning, just hours after authorities said chances of finding dozens of other crew members were “very, very slim”.

As many as 26 people are still missing from the Fujing001, the China-registered floating crane that split in two from typhoon Chaba.

Three people were earlier pulled to safety on Saturday by Hong Kong’s Government Flying Service after the sinking of the ship.

Southern China’s Guangdong Maritime Search and Rescue Center announced it had rescued the fourth crew member – believed to be a deck worker – whose condition is stable.

Arrangements were made to haul the survivor to shore after the Guangzhou Navy Base confirmed the person was alive.

Colossal waves pummelled the vessel which had broken into two parts (GOVERNMENT FLYING SERVICE/AFP)
Colossal waves pummelled the vessel which had broken into two parts (GOVERNMENT FLYING SERVICE/AFP)

He was miraculously rescued after a brief overnight suspension of the search operation on Saturday after poor weather conditions made such an operation dangerous for rescue teams.

The operation was resumed on Sunday and authorities had said at a press conference on Sunday before the rescue that it would be a “miracle” if more crew were rescued.

“The chances of finding (any more crew) alive are very, very slim,” said Hong Kong Government Flying Services Controller West Wu Wai-hung.

“We would like to give our hearts to those families of the missing sailors and workers, and I do wish that we could find some survivors, it will be a miracle to do that.”

The 240m-long vessel was working to construct a wind farm off the coast of southern China when the typhoon whipped up waves with a wind speed of 144km/h.

The tropical storm was upgraded to a typhoon before it made landfall in Guangdong province and Hong Kong, triggering the highest typhoon warning signal so far this year for the city.

The Guangdong Maritime Safety Administration said 38 vessels and 14 helicopters, including those from the Hong Kong Government Flying Service, were sent for the rescue operation to cover an area of 700 square nautical miles.

Helicopter crew members winch up a man from a sinking ship in the South China Sea (AP)
Helicopter crew members winch up a man from a sinking ship in the South China Sea (AP)

The rescue operation of the three crew members was captured in the video. It appeared to show crew members being lifted onto a rescue helicopter as colossal waves pummelled the vessel.

The centre said it was taking help from China Southern Airlines, urging it to send rescue helicopters.

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