Skip to: Content
Skip to: Site Navigation
Skip to: Search


Hong Kong sinking: Arrests, but no answers yet (+video)

Seven crew members were arrested Tuesday in relation to Monday's Hong Kong boat collision that killed 38. Though the causes of the incident remain unclear, it appears to have been related to human error.  

By Kelvin ChanAssociated Press / October 2, 2012

Workers look at a salvaged boat which sank the previous night after colliding with a ferry near Lamma Island, off the coast of Hong Kong Island. On Tuesday, seven crew members were arrested in relation to the crash, which killed 38.

AP Photo/Kin Cheung

Enlarge

HONG KONG

Police arrested seven crew members from two boats that collided in Hong Kong waters, killing 38 holiday revelers, but offered no explanation about how the vessels ran into each other on a clear night in one of the safest and most regulated waterways in Asia.

Skip to next paragraph

The Monday night crash was Hong Kong's deadliest accident in more than 15 years and its worst maritime accident in more than 40. Some relatives of the dead went to the scene off Hong Kong island's southwestern coast to toss spirit money in honor of the victims on Tuesday, while others waited at the morgue for news about loved ones.

Police Commissioner Tsang Wai-hung said six people were detained on suspicion of endangering passengers by operating their craft in an unsafe way. Police later announced a seventh arrest.

Tsang said both crews are suspected of having not "exercised the care required of them by law," but he did not elaborate.

A ferry collided with the Lamma IV, which is owned by the Hong Kong Electric Co. and was taking more than 100 employees and their families to famed Victoria Harbor to watch a fireworks display in celebration of China's National Day and mid-autumn festival.

The government said 101 people were sent to hospitals, 66 were discharged, and four had serious injuries or were in critical condition.

The ferry was damaged but completed its journey, and some of its passengers were treated for injuries. Local TV later showed its bow chewed up and chunks missing.

Hong Kong and Kowloon (Ferry) Holdings Ltd., the ferry operator, did not return calls seeking comment.

The government said 28 bodies were recovered overnight, and eight more people were declared dead at hospitals. Two bodies found aboard the vessel Tuesday raised the death toll to 38, according to government statements. At least four of those killed were children.

Salvage crews raised the half-submerged Lamma IV using three crane barges.

At the same time, several dozen relatives of victims traveled by boat to take part in a traditional Chinese mourning ritual, praying alongside Taoist priests and tossing spirit money into the wind.

Survivors told local television stations that the power company boat started sinking rapidly after the 8:23 p.m. collision. One woman said she swallowed a lot of water as she swam back to shore. A man said he had been on board with his children and didn't know where they were. Neither gave their names.

Though there was no immediate word about how the collision occurred on Hong Kong's tightly regulated waterways, it appeared human error was involved. Both vessels should have been illuminated by running lights when they crashed near Lamma island off the southwestern coast of Hong Kong island.

Such large-scale accidents are rare for Hong Kong, a semiautonomous enclave off mainland China that has one of Asia's most advanced infrastructures and economies with first-rate public services. The accident is the deadliest to strike the territory since a 1996 high-rise fire that killed 41, and the deadliest ferry accident since 88 people died during a typhoon in 1971.

  • Weekly review of global news and ideas
  • Balanced, insightful and trustworthy
  • Subscribe in print or digital

Special Offer

 

Doing Good

 

What happens when ordinary people decide to pay it forward? Extraordinary change...

Danny Bent poses at the starting line of the Boston Marathon in Hopkinton, Mass.

After the Boston Marathon bombings, Danny Bent took on a cross-country challenge

The athlete-adventurer co-founded a relay run called One Run for Boston that started in Los Angeles and ended at the marathon finish line to raise funds for victims.

 
 
Become a fan! Follow us! Google+ YouTube See our feeds!