HONG KONG: Helicopter rescue teams saved 21 crew members from a cargo ship that sank off Hong Kong Wednesday after Severe Typhoon Utor caused waves of up to 15 meters, officials said.
The crew abandoned ship as the 190 meter-long bulk carrier Trans Summer sank 80 kilometers southwest of Hong Kong, the city’s Flying Services said.
Hong Kong battened down on Wednesday as severe Typhoon Utor forced the closure of the city’s financial market and schools and disrupted hundreds of flights, after leaving six dead in the Philippines.
Gusts of more than 100 kilometers per hour were recorded, with rain lashing down, as the Hong Kong Observatory hoisted a “Number 8” storm warning in the early hours—the third highest level.
As the typhoon skirted the city about 240 kilometers to the southwest, the observatory downgraded the warning in the afternoon to “Number 3,” indicating strong winds.
Damage was limited with no landslides reported, but the winds blew down a number of trees and signboards, and left bamboo scaffolding swaying.
The Airport Authority said about one third of daily flights were disrupted, with 110 cancelled and another 241 delayed.
Ferry services to outlying islands and mainland China were halted in the morning, stranding passengers at various terminals.
A government spokesman said six people were treated in public hospitals for storm-related injuries and there were six cases of minor flooding. Overnight, the government opened 17 temporary shelters, with dozens of people seeking refuge.
The Hong Kong stock exchange cancelled on Wednesday’s session and schools remained shut for the afternoon.
Utor, which is packing winds of 155 kilometers per hour near its center, was heading towards the coast of Guangdong province in southeast China at 16kmh.
It was predicted to make landfall on Wednesday night or Thursday morning, according to China’s state news agency Xinhua.