Stand-off over troubled jetfoil journey
CLIFFORD LO and FELIX CHAN
Thirty jetfoil passengers refused to get off and eight were taken to hospital after a nightmare trip from Macau early yesterday.
The Far East Jetfoils vessel Balsa, carrying 252 passengers, had engine trouble and broke down in rough seas off Lantau at about 6.30am. The rest of the journey to the Sheung Wan ferry terminal was made at reduced speed and the vessel docked two hours and 40 minutes late.
An hour after the breakdown, a passenger rang police when a 48-year-old woman complained of a heart problem and seven others said they felt dizzy or began vomiting.
A Marine Police launch was sent to pick up the five women and three men, who were taken to Cheung Chau Clinic. Police said only four required treatment.
When the jetfoil reached the terminal at 9.40am, about 30 passengers refused to disembark. They demanded cash for the delay, but Far East Jetfoils rejected the claim.
The stand-off lasted 50 minutes, until the passengers accepted a free single jetfoil ticket, valid for travel within a month, as compensation.
Shun Tak Holdings spokeswoman Shirley Fung Sin-nei apologised for the inconvenience, but said it was not company policy to give cash payouts in such circumstances.