38 holiday makers were killed and scores more injured on Monday night when a ferry collided with a charter boat in Hong Kong and sank.
The charter boat, the Lamma IV, is owned by the Hong Kong Electric Co. and was carrying more than 100 employees and their families to watch the world renowned fireworks display in Victoria Harbor to celebrate China’s National Day when the accident occurred. It is as yet unclear why the Lamma IV collided with the Sea Smooth ferry on one of the world’s safest and most well regulated marine routes on a night with clear seas and good visibility. It is unclear how many passengers were on the Sea Smooth at the time of the collision. However, according to the company that owns the ferry, the vessel can carry up to 200 passengers.
According to local government reports, 101 people were transported to hospitals following the incident, with 66 being discharged after being treated for minor injuries. Four individuals remain in hospital with serious injuries.
28 bodies were found on the scene of the accident, with eight more people dying in hospital. Two further bodies were found onboard the charter boat on Tuesday, bringing the total death toll to 38. At least four of the bodies recovered so far were children.
According to statements from survivors of the collision, the charter boat started sinking shortly after the collision occurred, at around 8.20pm.
Although the ferry was badly damaged in the incident, it continued its journey to Victoria Harbor following the accident where it offloaded passengers, some of whom were taken to hospital.
The accident was Hong Kong’s deadliest transport related accident in more than 15 years, and it’s worst marine accident in over 40 years. Dozens of relatives have gathered at Hong Kong morgues to await information about missing loved ones, while others have travelled to the scene of the incident by boat to conduct a traditional Chinese mourning ritual of tossing spirit money into the ocean.
The deputy president of the power company that chartered the vessel, Victor Li, has released a statement saying that the company will provide compensation of 200 000 Hong Kong dollars (approximately $25 000) to the family members of the deceased.
In the latest development following the disaster, Hong Kong police have arrested seven crew members from both of the boats involved in the accident. The charges for which they have been arrested have not yet been confirmed.