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.
(Page 2 of 2)
Yuen Sui-see, the director of operations of Power Assets Holdings, the company that owns Hong Kong Electric, said the Lamma IV was carrying 121 passengers and three crew members, well below its capacity of more than 200.Skip to next paragraph
Subscribe Today to the Monitor
"There was a boat that came in close and crashed," he said. "After the crash, the other boat continued away. It didn't stop."
The ferry involved, the Sea Smooth, has a top speed of almost 45 kph (28 mph) and carries up to 200 passengers.
Several dozen relatives gathered at Hong Kong's morgue to await information on their loved ones.
A man who gave only his surname, Lee, said he and several relatives had spent the night searching for his 52-year-old sister, who had boarded the utility company boat with three co-workers.
"My niece called me last evening and said she believed my sister was on the boat so we should do something right away, we should go find them," he said.
They went from hospital to hospital, to the pier and a nearby yacht club. On Tuesday Lee was at the morgue, which he said would be the best place to get information.
Victor Li, deputy head of the company that owns Power Assets, said the company would provide emergency payments of 200,000 Hong Kong dollars ($25,800) to the family of each person killed.
Li's father, Li Ka-shing, is Asia's richest man. Power Assets and Hong Kong Electric, one of the city's two electrical utilities, are two of several companies in the elder Li's sprawling business empire.
Li Ka-shing visited a hospital Tuesday and told reporters he felt "very sorry."
"I don't want to say too much. I just know that many people have passed away," he said in comments broadcast on Cable TV Hong Kong.
Social media sites lit up with discussion of the tragedy and condolences for the victims and their families.
Lamma is the third-biggest island in Hong Kong and near one of the coastal Chinese city's busiest shipping lanes. The island is home to about 6,000 people, including many of the former British colony's expatriate workers.
The tragedy is a test for Hong Kong Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying's new Beijing-installed administration. His July inauguration was greeted by protests, and opposition by students and their parents against the proposed teaching of China-influenced patriotic history forced his government to back off the plan last month.
After the collision, Leung rushed to the pier where rescue work was taking place. He said he would set up a commission to investigate the crash.
Follow Kelvin Chan on Twitter at twitter.com/chanman