(CNN) – A rescue team from mainland China has rescued a crew member of a ship broke in half and sank during Typhoon Chaba in the early hours of Monday – just hours after their colleagues in Hong Kong said it would take a “miracle” to find more survivors.
Over a dozen people are missing after the Chinese engineer ship Fujing001 – with a crew of 30 people – sank about 300 kilometers (185 miles) southwest of Hong Kong on Saturday when Typhoon South China with winds of 144 km/h (89.5 m/h) whipped ).
While Hong Kong’s State Air Service evacuated three people on Saturday, hopes of finding any more survivors faded after the service said Sunday night the likelihood was “very, very low”.
But just hours later, the Guangdong Maritime Search and Rescue Center in southern China announced it had rescued a fourth crew member – who was described as being in “normal physical condition”.
Guangdong authorities also said they are believed to have found the remains of 12 other crew members and the identities of the bodies are yet to be confirmed.
The finding of the fourth crew member was followed by the resumption of search operations on Sunday. The search was suspended on Saturday night due to poor weather conditions that Hong Kong’s Marine Department said made it too dangerous for rescue teams.
“The chances of finding (more crew) alive are very, very slim,” Hong Kong government flight dispatcher West Wu Wai-hung said in a news conference on Sunday after his service rescued the three crew members.
“We want to give our hearts to the families of the missing sailors and workers and I wish we could find some survivors, it would be a miracle.”
The next day, the Guangzhou Navy Base confirmed that a fourth crew member – described as a deckhand – had been rescued alive and that arrangements were being made to bring the person to shore.
The three crew members rescued by Hong Kong Air Service have all been described as in stable condition and are being treated at North Lantau Hospital.
The 240-meter-long vessel – dubbed a “floating crane” by Chinese authorities – was being used to construct a wind farm off the coast of southern China when Chaba struck.
The Hong Kong Air Service said it had deployed three fixed-wing aircraft, six helicopters and 36 rescuers for the search operation, which has a circumference of 1,300 km (807 miles), as of Sunday.
The Guangdong Maritime Search and Rescue Center said it deployed seven rescue vessels, as well as salvage, merchant and coast guard vessels.
The center said it also coordinated with China Southern Airlines to dispatch rescue helicopters.
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