Woman, children rescued from capsized ship near Puerto Rico

PHOTO: A damaged pier is seen after the area was hit by Hurricane Maria in Puerto de Jobos, Puerto Rico Sept. 20, 2017.PlayCarlos Garcia Rawlins/Reuters
WATCH Maria survivors in Puerto Rico share harrowing details

A woman and two children have been rescued after they were spotted perched atop an overturned ship off the coast of Puerto Rico in the wake of Hurricane Maria.

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A fourth family member, an adult man, was reported deceased inside the ship, which the Coast Guard said was "inaccessible" to search and rescue crews.

The Coast Guard -- alongside the U.S. and British Royal Navies -- first launched a search for the vessel after receiving a distress call on Wednesday morning, while Maria was battering the area.

The ship, "Ferrel," reported it was "disabled and adrift" amid 20-foot seas and 100-knot winds near Vieques, an island off Puerto Rico's eastern coast, the Coast Guard said. They later lost contact with the vessel due to the weather.

After a Coast Guard C-130 located the capsized vessel, a Royal Navy rescue chopper was dispatched to assist.

Authorities described the ship as "a research vessel that the family was using as a recreational vessel." Records show the ship was built in 1968.

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