(Bloomberg) -- Survival chances are “very very slim” for 27 missing crew members from a Chinese vessel that sunk in the South China Sea after being hit by a typhoon, said Hong Kong authorities involved in the rescue mission.

Fujing001, a floating crane working on an offshore wind-farm project about 300 kilometers (186 miles) southwest of Hong Kong, broke in two Saturday in the wake of Typhoon Chaba. Three crew members were rescued by the Hong Kong Government Flying Service on Saturday. Further rescue efforts were being hindered by severe weather conditions, authorities said Sunday.

“Given the weather and also the conditions, [from] our previous experience I think the chance of finding them alive is very very slim,” West Wu, a controller from the flying service, told reporters during a briefing. “Our hearts go out to all the families of the missing sailors and workers. I do wish we can find some survivors. It’d be a miracle to do that.”

The severe weather conditions from Chaba made it challenging for the helicopters to travel from Hong Kong to the site of the accident, especially as Fujing001 was near the eye of the storm when it broke, said Wu. Chaba, with winds of more than 140 kilometers per hour, triggered the highest typhoon warning signal so far this year for Hong Kong.

The Guangdong Maritime Safety Administration said Sunday that 38 vessels and 14 helicopters including those from the Hong Kong Government Flying Service were involved in the rescue, covering an area of 700 square nautical miles. 

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