Chinese officials said on Monday that twelve bodies were found after a shipwreck in the South China Sea over the weekend, leaving more than two dozen crew members missing. The announcement came after an engineering vessel was heavily damaged and broken in two during a typhoon, 160 nautical miles (296 km) southwest of Hong Kong.
“As of 3:30 pm on July 4, rescue forces found and recovered 12 bodies, suspected to be of victims who drowned, in an area around 50 nautical miles southwest of the site where the vessel sank,” said the Guangdong Maritime Search and Rescue Centre.
“The relevant departments are stepping up identity confirmation work.”
According to Chinese state media outlet CGTN, 30 crew members left the ship, Fujiing 001, which was used for offshore wind power construction, after its anchor chain broke in the storm.
State broadcaster CCTV said a surveillance system on Saturday found the floating crane of the offshore wind farm project in danger and later sank. According to Chinese state media, three people were rescued on Saturday and another in the early hours of Monday, of which 26 are still unaccounted for.
CCTV said the rescue team had expanded its search around the wreckage, sending medical personnel aboard each rescue ship to assist any crew member as quickly as possible.
Earlier footage provided by Hong Kong authorities showed a man being carried on a helicopter while waves crashed onto the deck of a semi-submerged ship below.
According to a statement from the Hong Kong government, the three survivors said other crew members might have been swept away by the waves before the first helicopter arrived.