Six crew arrested over deadly ferry crash
Death toll stands at 37, 101 injured and unknown number missing
The larger of the two boats sank within minutes of the collision
ucanews.com reporter, Hong Kong,
October 2, 2012
Six people have been arrested after two passenger boats collided near Hong Kong yesterday evening, killing 37 and injuring 101.
A pleasure boat carrying 124 people was taking staff of the Hong Kong Electric Company and their families to watch a fireworks display for National Day (October 1) when it struck a smaller ferry around 8:30 p.m. local time and immediately sank.
Three crew members from each boat have been arrested and are being investigated for endangering people’s lives at sea, said security minister Lai Tung-kwok.
Rescue action continued today as the number of missing people remains unknown.
“All the passengers fell down when the vessels collided with a loud ‘bang.’ The back of the vessel sank rapidly in less than two minutes and everyone fell to the back of the vessel and into the water,” said a female passenger.
“I could find my family members. But some could not,” said another woman.
There were about 100 passengers on board the smaller ferry. A dozen suffered minor injuries.
“Low visibility and many obstacles on board made it difficult for rescue,” said a spokesperson of the Fire Service Department last night.
“There is no speed limit in the waters near Lamma Island. The waves were not too high, and the weather and visibility at the time of the accident were not too bad. We will investigate the case with the Marine Police,” said Chung Siu-man, vice director of the Marine Department.
Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying said in a press conference today that a committee will be set up to investigate the incident, which has been described as Hong Kong's deadliest sea accident in 40 years.
Government buildings will fly their flags at half mast from Thursday to Saturday.