More than ten people still missing after the Chinese engineering vessel Fujing001 – with a crew of 30 – sank some 300 kilometers (185 miles) southwest of Hong Kong on Saturday, as the typhoon hit southern China with winds of 144 km/h (89.5 mph).
While the Hong Kong government’s flight service had brought three people to safety on Saturday, hopes of finding other survivors are fading after the service said on Sunday evening that the likelihood of this happening was “very, very thin”.
Yet hours later, the Guangdong Maritime Search and Rescue Center in southern China said it had rescued a fourth crew member, described as being in “normal physical condition”.
Guangdong authorities also said they found what are believed to be the remains of 12 other crew members and the identities of the bodies are still being confirmed.
The discovery of the fourth crew member followed the resumption of search operations on Sunday. The search had been suspended overnight Saturday due to poor weather conditions that made it too dangerous for rescue teams, according to the Hong Kong Maritime Department.
“The chances of finding (other crew members) alive are very, very slim,” Hong Kong government flight services controller West Wu Wai-hung told a news conference on Sunday. , following the rescue by its service of the three crew members.
“We would like to give our hearts to the families of missing sailors and workers, and I wish we could find survivors, it will be a miracle to do so.”
The following day, the Guangzhou Naval Base confirmed that a fourth crew member – described as a deckhand – had been rescued alive and arrangements were being made to transfer the person ashore.
The three crew members rescued by the Hong Kong Air Service were all described as being in stable conditions and are being treated at North Lantau Hospital.
The 240-metre (787ft) vessel – described by Chinese authorities as a “floating crane” – was being used to help build a wind farm off the coast of southern China when Chaba struck.
Hong Kong’s air service said it used three fixed-wing aircraft, six helicopters and 36 rescuers on Sunday for the search operation, which had a perimeter of 1,300 km (807 miles).
The Guangdong Maritime Search and Rescue Center said it used seven rescue vessels, as well as rescue, merchant and coast guard vessels.
The center said it had also coordinated with China Southern Airlines to send rescue helicopters.