A ship with 30 sailors on board was caught in typhoon Chaba in the South China Sea and broke in two.

As the Hong Kong newspaper "South China Morning Post" reported, after the accident on Saturday, the air rescue service was initially able to bring three crew members from the sinking ship to safety around 300 kilometers west of the Chinese special administrative region.

The status of the other 27 seafarers initially remained unclear.

According to the report, the Chinese-flagged industrial ship "Fujing001" was distressed and broken up off the south China coast on Saturday morning as the typhoon raged in the region.

Video footage showed a crew member being pulled into a helicopter with a lifeline as the ship sank into the sea below.

Waves up to ten meters high and visibility of less than 500 meters made it difficult to find the other seamen.

The rescue work should continue throughout the night.