'I was surrounded by a sea of diesel'

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 20 April, 1997, 12:00am
UPDATED : Sunday, 20 April, 1997, 12:00am

THE Hong Kong fisherman who dived from the window of the sinking boat and swam for his life soon found himself in a sea of diesel, he said last night from his hospital bed.

So Tak-wing, 42, said he was certain the other ship must have been aware of the collision. 'Our boat was totally destroyed. But they did not stop - they just sailed off,' he said.

Mr So had been asleep on the lower deck when the huge steel ship struck the fishing boat's stern shortly before 4 am, he said.

'It was a loud bang - everything shook,' he said. 'Water gushed in from all directions before we could understand what had happened.' Mr So and mainland workmate Li Fouyau, 30, struggled to a window and dived out as the boat began to sink.

'I reached the surface of the water, only to find I was surrounded by a sea of diesel leakage,' Mr So said.

'I swallowed some filthy seawater and could hardly breathe. I held up my arms for help but the ship sailed off and left us behind.

'My heart sank when I didn't see my three workmates come out. The boat was totally swallowed by the sea within 10 minutes,' he said.

The pair floated in the diesel-covered seawater for about 20 minutes until a fishing boat rescued them.