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Ship breaks apart in South China Sea amid Typhoon Chaba

The Fujing 001 vessel sinks after snapping in two off the coast of Hong Kong, China, on Saturday. The engineering vessel with 30 crew members on board snapped in two as Typhoon Chaba hit Hong Kong. Photo courtesy Hong Kong GFS/EPA-EFE
The Fujing 001 vessel sinks after snapping in two off the coast of Hong Kong, China, on Saturday. The engineering vessel with 30 crew members on board snapped in two as Typhoon Chaba hit Hong Kong. Photo courtesy Hong Kong GFS/EPA-EFE

July 2 (UPI) -- Rescuers were searching for more than two dozen crew members of an industrial ship that broke in half Saturday amid treacherous storm conditions in the South China Sea, Hong Kong officials said.

The vessel broke apart about 186 miles south of Hong Kong after encountering Typhoon Chaba, the first tropical storm of the year to hit China, Sky News reported. The storm made landfall in Guangdong on Saturday afternoon, the National Meteorological Center said.

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The Hong Kong Government Flying Service said it received a rescue request from the vessel around 7:25 a.m. before the crew abandoned the ship.

The agency said it rescued three people via helicopter, but 27 people were unaccounted for. Inclement weather made rescue efforts difficult, CNN reported.

The flying service dispatched six aircraft to the vicinity -- four helicopters and two fixed-wing aircraft sorties.

Typhoon Chaba's strength was downgraded later Saturday, but not before it brought heavy rainfall and dangerous conditions to the region. The downpours led to business closures and flight cancellations.

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