Coxswain missing after speedboat collides with jetfoil

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 09 May, 2012, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 09 May, 2012, 12:00am


Hong Kong and mainland authorities are searching for a coxswain who was thrown into the sea from a speedboat in a collision with a Macau-bound jetfoil off Lantau yesterday.

The man's mainland-registered speedboat collided with the TurboJet jetfoil in mainland waters about 1.85 kilometres west of Fan Lau on Lantau at around 1.30pm.

The man, suspected to be a mainlander, fell overboard and his seven-metre speedboat was badly damaged, police said.

'Part of the speedboat was peeled off,' a police officer said. 'It drifted for about 1.5 nautical miles into Hong Kong waters before it sank.'

He said the speedboat could have been headed to a nearby mainland island known as Guishan Dao to pick up illicit products.

Shun Tak Holdings, which manages the TurboJet vessel, said the speedboat rammed into the left side of the 30-metre-long jetfoil, Lilau, which was carrying 142 passengers and nine crew.

'None of the passengers and crew was injured and the jetfoil suffered no damage,' its spokeswoman said.

She said the TurboJet vessel returned to the Hong Kong-Macau Ferry Terminal in Sheung Wan, where the passengers were transferred to another ferry to continue their journey.

Two police launches, three fireboats and three Marine Department vessels searched in Hong Kong waters, while a Government Flying Service helicopter scoured the area from above.

The Marine Department said the Zhuhai Maritime Safety Administration also sent three patrol boats to search for the missing man.

The air and sea search was suspended last night and would resume this morning.

Police said three life jackets were found. It is understood that the chances of finding the man alive is slim, as the speedboat was badly damaged in the collision and it is unlikely he was wearing a life jacket.

A departmental officer said the cruising speed of a jetfoil was about 40 knots.

The department is investigating.


The number of jetfoils in the TurboJet fleet

- Vessels depart every 15 minutes, 24 hours a day