Rescuers early today were trying to reach 29 people trapped aboard two Chinese ships being pounded by huge seas off Hong Kong. Powerful winds and poor visibility caused by severe tropical storm Hagubit were hampering efforts to reach the two craft, a tugboat carrying 16 people and a fishing boat with 13 people aboard. Government Flying Service crews said the boats were being battered by waves up to 15 metres high and were taking in water. The tug was about 35 nautical miles southwest of Hong Kong, near Macau, and the fishing vessel was 40 nautical miles south of Cheung Chau. The crews of a fixed-winged aircraft and a helicopter said they could not mount a rescue attempt because of the weather conditions. Senior aircraft pilot Eric Leung Man-chiu said winds were gusting at up to 130km/h and waves were between 10 to 15 metres. It was impossible for the helicopter to hover above the vessels and winch the 29 to safety. 'We know the positions of the two vessels and we will go out again at first light today to make the rescue,' he said. Distress signals from the two stricken ships were sent to Chinese authorities who relayed them to the Marine Rescue Co-ordination Centre in Hong Kong at about 6.30pm. Earlier yesterday, a Government Flying Service helicopter winched 23 fishermen from two disabled fishing vessels outside Hong Kong waters as Hagupit led to the No 8 typhoon signal being hoisted for the first time this year. One vessel, with a crew of nine, was about 30 nautical miles south of Hong Kong and the other, with a crew of 14, was about 75 nautical miles southwest of the territory. The rescued fishermen, who included two Hong Kong residents, were airlifted to the service's base at Chek Lap Kok. Thirty-two people were injured as Hagupit skirted Hong Kong, shutting offices and businesses. Three secondary students were among those hurt as storm-force winds battered the SAR, bringing down scaffolding, uprooting trees, smashing windows and blowing away signboards. Three tram passengers were slightly hurt at about 10am when strong winds brought down scaffolding at the Guangdong Investment Tower, smashing the tram's windows as it drove along Des Voeux Road Central. Powerful winds also blew away the metal gate to the main entrance of a church service centre, hitting a 51-year-old woman in Chun Yan Street, Wong Tai Sin, shortly before 7am. In Yau Ma Tei, the window of an office block smashed and glass fragments hit a 41-year-old man at about 11am. He was treated for injuries to his face and hands at Queen Elizabeth Hospital. The Airport Authority reported that 59 incoming flights were delayed, 21 cancelled and eight diverted. Fifty-five departures were delayed while 20 were cancelled. With Hagupit - a Philippine word for 'lashing' - heading away from Hong Kong early today, the No 8 signal was lowered and replaced by the No 3 at 1.40am. Yesterday, most business and financial activities, including the Hong Kong Stock Exchange and Gold Exchange, were suspended and schools, government offices and courts were closed. Last night's race meeting at Happy Valley was cancelled and the Hong Kong Jockey Club said it would refund all bets. The Observatory forecasts more heavy rain across the territory today.