12 bodies found around Chinese ship sunken by Typhoon Chaba

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HONG KONG — Search and rescue officials recovered 12 bodies from the area where a Chinese ship was split in half and sunk by a typhoon, while a fourth sailor was reportedly rescued, authorities announced Monday.

The engineering vessel Fujing001 and its 30 crew members were carrying out work on wind power projects when the vessel was caught in Typhoon Chaba on Saturday and snapped in half.

China’s Guangdong Maritime Search and Rescue Center said the identities of the bodies were still being confirmed and the rescued sailor was in a “normal physical condition.”

Hong Kong’s Government Flying Service rescued the first three survivors.

Cyrus Szeto, an air crewman officer who participated in the search on Saturday, told RTHK on Monday the rescue was extremely difficult and the team had to improvise their tactics.

“The vessel was severely tilted so there was no space for us to stand,” Szeto said. “We would normally hoist each survivor up one by one, but because there was no time, we hoisted up the two survivors, including myself, together at once.”

Wing Li, a helicopter pilot from the service, told RTHK that they would not give up the search and rescue mission.

“There were previous cases that managed to recover survivors after a period of time like this case,” Li said. “So we will try our best.”

The scope of search and rescue has expanded to the northeast direction, Li said, adding that it was “difficult to accurately calculate the possible location of the missing crew members” as the wind kept changing course.

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Vic Chang from Taipei contributed to this report.

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