Jetfoil struck massive wreck, says fisherman

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 06 May, 1998, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 06 May, 1998, 12:00am

A fisherman said yesterday that he had seen the Far East Jetfoil crash into a sunken wreck on Saturday.

The claim came as Marine Department officials started investigating whether the wreck off Lantau was involved in the jetfoil accident which killed one woman and injured 119 other passengers.

Chan Ma-sing said he was fishing with his family when he saw the damaged jetfoil directly above the wreck of a 90-metre ship that sank six years ago just inside mainland waters.

He believed the vessel hit the wreck even though he did not hear any loud noise.

'I've been fishing here for more than 10 years. All fishermen in these waters know where the wreck is,' Mr Chan said.

He and other fishermen in the Tuen Mun-based Hong Kong & Kowloon Fishermen Association of which he is a member, said all the fishermen avoid the wreck and the jetfoil driver should have known where it was.

The wreck is marked on Hong Kong marine charts. It is 1.5 nautical miles north of the location of the accident given by the jetfoil's captain, Marine Department officials said.

The wreck lies off the jetfoil's route, one of three approved routes for Macau-bound Far East jetfoils, a Marine Department spokesman said. It was unclear whether the jetfoil strayed from its normal route.

Officials at Shun Tak Holdings, which runs Far East Jetfoils, failed to return phone calls for comment.

Divers yesterday searched for evidence in the location of the wreck and the reported location of the accident, but did not find anything unusual, officials said. They will continue their search today.

Although the wreck is quite far from the reported crash site, Marine Department officials said they were checking the wreck.