Chinese search and rescue officials pulled 12 bodies on Monday from waters southwest of Hong Kong after an engineering vessel snapped in two as tropical storm Chaba passed through, state television said.
Maritime authorities of the southern province of Guangdong were stepping up efforts to identify the bodies, suspected to have drowned, after they were retrieved about 50 nautical miles from where the stricken ship sank, it added.
Four of its crew were rescued by Monday, although rescue officials in the global financial hub had warned the previous day that “very slim” chances remained of finding others alive.
Seven planes and hundreds of boats and fishing vessels are joining the search effort, state television said.
The sunken vessel, ‘Fujing 001’, with a crew of 30, was at an anti-typhoon anchorage in waters near Yangjiang in Guangdong when its anchor chain snapped.
China’s first typhoon of the year, Chaba skirted Hong Kong but brought heavy rain and wind to southern provinces already water-logged from weeks of torrential rain and thunderstorms over the weekend.
It weakened into a tropical depression on Monday, but was expected to shower central and southern regions with heavy rain for several days as it moved north, forecasters said.