Hong Kong Boat Collision Kills at Least 37

Posted on: October 2nd, 2012 by ABC News No Comments

ChinaFotoPress/ChinaFotoPress via Getty Images(HONG KONG) — At least 37 people have been confirmed dead and more than 100 people injured after two ferries collided off Hong Kong’s Lamma Island Monday night, in the deadliest accident in Hong Kong in nearly 20 years.

There were more than 120 people on board the vessel, owned by Hong Kong’s electric company, to see a fireworks display celebrating China’s National Day, when it collided with another passenger ship near the island off the southwest coast of Hong Kong island.  The ferry began to sink within minutes — television images showed the bow of the boat pointing straight up as rescue crews combed the waters overnight, deploying seven boats and more than 200 rescue crews.

More than 100 people were rescued and rushed to nearby hospitals, nine with serious or critical injuries, according to a government statement.  One person remains missing.

“The rear of the ferry started to sink.  I suddenly found myself deep under the sea,” one passenger told the South China Morning Post.  “I swam hard and tried to grab a life buoy.  I don’t know where my two kids are.”

Survivors described a frantic scene in the aftermath — passengers smashing windows to break free, rushing to get life jackets as the water crept into the vessel.

The boat was hit by a commuter ferry operated by the Hong Kong and Kowloon Ferry company, according to local media reports.  That vessel was damaged, but returned to port safely.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

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