Six Crew Arrested in Fatal Hong Kong Ferry Crash

Posted October 2nd, 2012 at 6:40 am (UTC-5)
Leave a comment

Hong Kong police have arrested six crew from two passenger boats that collided in Hong Kong's Victoria Harbor, as rescuers continue searching for survivors of the accident that left at least 37 people dead.

Police officials said at a news conference Tuesday the crew members are being investigated for “endangering people's lives at sea,” but gave few other details on Hong Kong's worst maritime accident in decades.

A ferry belonging to the Hong Kong Electric Power Company sank within minutes of colliding with another passenger boat late Monday. It was carrying around 120 company staff and family members to watch a holiday fireworks show.

Many frantically searched local hospitals and morgues on Tuesday for missing family members who were aboard the ferry, while police questioned survivors to find out if others were missing.

It is not known what caused the accident, since conditions were clear at the time and public transportation is generally safe in Hong Kong.

Hong Kong Electric Director Yuen Sui-see says the crash was not because of overcrowded conditions or lax safety standards.

“Our ship's license was granted recently, so this is not an issue about inspection. I hope everyone understands that we were directly crashed into. This is equivalent to a car colliding straight into you and when this happens, whether or not the car has undergone inspections earlier, is a completely different issue.”

Hong Kong Electric says it will pay $25,800 to the families of each of the deceased.

The other boat, owned by Hong Kong and Kowloon Ferry Holdings, suffered a damaged hull but made it safely to shore, with several of its crew and passengers taken to the hospital for minor injuries.

The accident happened near Lamma Island, Hong Kong's third largest island, over a long holiday weekend to celebrate China's National Day and a mid-autumn festival.