Dramatic video has surfaced on social media, which shows the rescue of several people from a rapidly sinking ship during typhoon Chaba in South China Sea. The ship split in two off the coast of Hong Kong on Saturday after being caught in the tropical storm.
The video shows one of the crew members being winched off the ship moments before the vessel vanishes beneath the sea waves. It has been shared by Government Flying Service of Hong Kong on Instagram.
The rescuers winched three people from the ship and into a helicopter. The three survivors said other crew members may have been swept away by waves before the first helicopter arrived, according to a government statement.
There were 30 people on board and the fate of 27 others remains unknown.
The engineering vessel was 160 nautical miles southwest of Hong Kong when the incident took place, according to Hong Kong Government Flying Service. It “suffered substantial damage and broke into two pieces” and the 30-member crew abandoned ship, the agency further 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.
Meanwhile, the typhoon weakened into a tropical depression, but is still expected to bring heavy rain in the central and eastern part of China over the next few days as it moves northward, Chinese forecasters said on Monday.
The Central Meteorological Observatory lifted the typhoon blue warning on Chaba late on Sunday, but over the weekend China’s first typhoon of the year bought heavy rain and wind to several southern provinces already water-logged from weeks of torrential rains and thunderstorms.
In recent weeks, historic rainfall and flooding in southern China have destroyed property, paralysed traffic and disrupted the daily lives of millions.
Extreme weather including unusually heavy flooding is expected to continue in China through August, forecasters predicted last week.