Passengers Die After Ferry Collision in Hong Kong

Two boats that collided in the waters off Hong Kong on Monday night leaving 37 people dead. One of the boats was carrying more than 120 people to a fireworks display when it half-sank following the collision near Lamma Island. The search for survivors is continuing.

Dozens of people were thrown into the waters as the pleasure boat sank within minutes of impact. The government has confirmed that 37 people died – 32 adults and five children. More than 100 people were injured. The number of people still missing is unknown.

The Lamma IV, which according to Hong Kong Electric was built to carry 200 passengers, sank quickly after colliding with the ferry, operated by Hong Kong and Kowloon Ferry, which runs regular services between Lamma and Hong Kong Island. The ferry, the Sea Smooth, was somewhat damaged, but no one on board was seriously hurt.

Police have arrested three crew members from each of the vessels involved in the accident, the security minister told a news conference. The head of police, Tsang Wai-hung, said the suspects were responsible for the boats’ operation.

“From the investigation so far we suspect that the crew responsible for manning the two vessels had not exercised the care required of them by law to ensure the safety of the vessel that they are navigating as well as the people on board their vessels.

Update 1: Oct. 03 2012

The death toll remains at 38. The stern had been crushed and partly missing, indicating it was possibly hit from behind. The ferry suffered damage to the front left, and none of its passengers were severely affected.

Hong Kong & Kowloon Ferry Holdings Ltd. now has to defend itself against accusations that the ferry’s captain should have stayed to help rescue Hongkong Electric passengers. The company argues that blame should not be assigned before an investigation is concluded. The company also denied suggestions that the captain, who had worked a 10-hour shift that day, was overly tired. The ferry in question, Sea Smooth, had been checked for seaworthiness in September.

Source: Huffington Post, Maritime Executive

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