Hong Kong ferry collision toll rises

2012-10-02 08:07
Rescuers check on a half-submerged ferry after it collided with a tugboat and sank near Lamma Island, off Hong Kong. (Kin Cheung, AP)

Rescuers check on a half-submerged ferry after it collided with a tugboat and sank near Lamma Island, off Hong Kong. (Kin Cheung, AP)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

kalahari.com

  • Maritime Economics
    A combination of a sophisticated historical and theoretical analysis of the shipping industry Now R1,122.00
    buy now
Hong Kong - A pleasure boat on a trip to watch National Day fireworks collided with a ferry and sank off Hong Kong, leaving 36 people dead and sparking a frantic overnight rescue effort, officials said on Tuesday.

More than 120 passengers and crew were on the Hong Kong Electric company's vessel to watch the huge fireworks display in Victoria harbour on Monday evening when the collision occurred near Lamma Island.

Scores of people were thrown into the choppy water and the company vessel sank within minutes, leaving only its bow protruding from the waves.

"Twenty eight were certified dead at the scene while eight others were certified dead upon arrival [at] hospitals," the government said in a statement.

"Over 100 people were sent to five hospitals during the incident, nine of them have sustained serious injuries or are in critical condition.

"Rescue action will continue as Fire Service Department [FSD] cannot rule out that there are still people inside the vessel or missing."

Low visibility

All of the dead and most of the injured are believed to have been passengers or crew of the Hong Kong Electric vessel, which was reportedly packed with staff and their families hoping to enjoy the spectacular fireworks display.

Rescue teams in boats and helicopters spent the night scouring the sea around the site of the accident for signs of survivors, while dive teams entered the sunken boat.

"The low visibility and many obstacles on board... made it difficult for rescue," the FSD said.

Survivors were taken by boat to Hong Kong island, around 3km to the east, where a fleet of ambulances whisked them to hospital.

Local television station RTHK reported on its website that children were among the dead.

"After 10 minutes out a boat crashed into ours from the side at very high speed. The rear... started to sink," a survivor told the South China Morning Post after he was brought to shore.

All resources mobilised

"I suddenly found myself deep under the sea. I swam hard and tried to grab a life buoy. I don't know where my two kids are."

Another survivor, a woman, said: "I swam for a long time to reach the surface and swallowed a lot of water. Then I found a rescue boat."

Hong Kong chief Leung Chun-ying said the government had mobilised all its resources to respond to the accident.

"All our emergency rescue teams are concentrated there... We can see that bit by bit, the people in the water are being rescued," he told reporters at a pier as the injured were being put into ambulances.

Later, after visiting a hospital where a number of those hurt had been taken, he said: "Government divers have entered the submerged portion of the boat to rescue survivors, passengers or crew members.

"We will investigate this incident, we must understand the reason for this incident."

Driver blamed

Survivors told how the water level inside the boat being used by HK Electric rose quickly before the vessel sank, RTHK news website reported.

Hong Kong Electric's director of operations SS Yuen confirmed the passengers were on their way to the fireworks display.

"This is a very happy holiday and it turned out to be such a tragic incident," he said.

He was quoted in the Post as blaming the driver of the regular ferry for the collision.

"The ferry rammed the side of our boat. They didn't bother and just left," he said.

Police said the cause of the accident was not yet known.

"The case is still under investigation so we don't have any information on the cause," a police spokesperson said.

The FSD said 28 boats, two helicopters and 20 ambulances were involved in the rescue operation.

Lamma Island is the third largest island in Hong Kong, with a population of around 5 000 people. It is popular with expats, who enjoy its car-less narrow streets and laid-back lifestyle.

Read more on:    hong kong  |  maritime
NEXT ON NEWS24X

SHARE:

Read News24’s Comments Policy

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
1 comment
Add your comment
Comment 0 characters remaining
 

Inside News24

 
/Movies
 
Traffic
Lottery
 
  • Wednesday Cape Town - 20:17 PM
    Road name: MetroRail
    Due to extensive vandalism on the Central Line a limited Bus Service will operate between Nyanga/Chris Hani and Nyanga/Kapteinsklip - EXPECT DELAYS
  • Wednesday Montague Gardens - 19:58 PM
    Road name: Montague Drive
    ROADWORKS - lane closures both directions for BRT lane construction - expect DELAYS
 
More traffic reports...
 

Jobs in Cape Town [change area]

Property [change area]

Travel - Look, Book, Go!

Magical Massinga

Spend 5 nights at the gorgeous Massinga Beach Lodge in Mozambique and only pay for 4 from R13 220 per person sharing. Includes return flights, accommodation, transfers and romantic turndown. Book now!

Kalahari.com - shop online today

Up to 60% off - clearance sale!

Save up to 60% on appliances, books, electronics, toys, movies and more. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

Deal of the Week!

Get bestselling John Green novels now just R99 each! Hurry and get yours while stocks last. Shop here.

Mind blowing deals on beauty & fragrances

Save up to 30% off beauty and fragrances. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

Up to 50% off hair care products!

Save up to 50% on professional hair care products at kalahari.com. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

30% off academic books

Score a mind blowing 30% off academic books! Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

OLX Free Classifieds [change area]

Samsung Galaxy s4

Mobile, Cell Phones in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 24

Best bargain in big bay

Real Estate, Houses - Apartments for Sale in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

VW Golf 6, 1.6 Trendline (Excellent condition)

Vehicles, Cars in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

Canon EOS 600D

The Canon EOS 600D Digital Camera puts the widely respected...

From R5389.00

I'm shopping for:

Horoscopes
Aquarius
Aquarius

It is the end of the month and there may be a strong focus on organising finances. You may have found a need to reconstruct or...read more

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.








Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.