Salvage teams are on standby to recover the abandoned container ship which is drifting close to the Daya Bay nuclear power plant Salvage teams are on standby to recover an abandoned container ship drifting near Daya Bay nuclear power plant after its entire crew was plucked to safety in a daring air-sea rescue at the peak of Typhoon Imbudo. The drama unfolded early yesterday as the tropical cyclone churned through waters south of Hong Kong after battering the northern Philippines where it killed at least seven people and forced thousands to evacuate. The rescue was the most dramatic event following the hoisting of the No 8 typhoon warning and the early closure of offices and schools, suspension of ferry services and cancellation of some airline flights on Wednesday. Maritime Rescue Co-ordination Centre (MRCC) duty officer Hung Shung-leung yesterday said efforts to recover the abandoned container ship from near the mouth of Daya Bay, about 65km east of Hong Kong, had been hampered by the wild weather. 'It is not a hazard to other vessels and we have a salvage tug and crew on standby nearby,' he said. Government Flying Service rescuers earlier told how they battled 90km/h winds and 10-metre high waves to airlift the 16 mainland crew members from the deck of the stricken 1,584-tonne Fufeng during the height of Typhoon Imbudo. 'It was a highly-dangerous rescue mission', said operations manager German Tsoi. 'It was one of the most risky rescues we have ever attempted.' He said the deck of the heavily-laden and rudderless vessel was pitching and rolling violently, sometimes being pushed below the waves, as it was buffeted by huge seas and heavy winds. 'The crew members deeply feared for their lives,' said rescue team member Bowie Fung Po-win. 'They thought they were in imminent danger and that is why we had to go out and rescue them.' But the rescue team was forced to fly three sorties into the heart of the typhoon during the 10-hour operation before successfully returning to base at 6.10am yesterday. 'On the first effort we were unable to locate the vessel in the storm,' said Mr Tsoi. 'On the second we found the ship, eventually managed to put one man on deck, and were able to winch 14 sailors to safety. 'But two crew members insisted on staying with the stricken vessel.' He said when the rescue helicopter was half-way back to base the remaining two men radioed for help, saying they had changed their minds and wanted to be rescued. 'You can imagine how we felt,' said Mr Tsoi. 'It was very dangerous and very difficult conditions. 'And although the rescue team was not happy about it, we had to turn around and go back out there again. 'It is our job.' The crew of the Fufeng, loaded with 138 containers, had first radioed for help at about 7.45pm on Wednesday as they feared for their lives under the onslaught of Typhoon Imbudo. They reported that their vessel had lost a rudder and was in danger of breaking up. A salvage rescue mission will be launched within the next two days. Despite being the biggest storm to hit the region in five years, no fatalities were recorded in Hong Kong.