HONG KONG – A boat packed with revelers on a long holiday weekend collided with a ferry and sank off Hong Kong, killing at least 36 people and injuring dozens, authorities said.
The boat was carrying utility company workers and their families to famed Victoria Harbour to watch a fireworks display in celebration of China’s National Day and mid-autumn festival. The two vessels collided Monday night near Lamma Island off the southwestern coast of Hong Kong Island.
The government said 36 bodies had been recovered as of this morning. The search was continuing. More than 100 people were rescued and sent to hospitals, and nine had serious or critical injuries, the government’s statement said.
After daybreak, the boat was half submerged with its bow pointing almost straight up. A barge was tied alongside it, apparently to stabilize the boat and keep it from tipping further.
The government said low visibility and obstacles on the boat were making rescue efforts difficult.
“There was a boat that came in close and crashed,” said Yuen Sui-see, director of operations at Power Assets Holdings Ltd., which was using the vessel to take staff on the outing. “After the crash, the other boat continued away, it didn’t stop.” He denied the vessel was overloaded, saying it was carrying 121 passengers and three crew but had capacity for more than 200 passengers.
Local news reports said the boat was hit by a ferry operated by the Hong Kong and Kowloon Ferry company on a regularly scheduled service. Radio Television Hong Kong said the captain of the other ship, which was slightly damaged but able to return to port, was afraid to stop in case it also sank.