Fisherman missing after boat fire

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 18 July, 2001, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 18 July, 2001, 12:00am

A mainland fisherman was missing and another was in critical condition in hospital last night after their wooden boat burst into flame in Chinese waters southwest of Lamma Island yesterday.

The missing man's 39-year-old colleague suffered serious burns and was being treated in Queen Mary Hospital after being airlifted to the SAR.

According to the rescued fisherman, they dived into the sea after their five-metre-long boat caught fire at about 11am. The men had been about 9km from Lamma Island.

A rescue boat deployed from a nearby dredger picked up the survivor at midday. An air and sea search was launched for his missing colleague.

Search co-ordinator Stephen Wong Ka-kit from Maritime Rescue Co-ordination Centre said a helicopter and planes from the Government Flying Services, three Marine police launches and four fireboats were involved in the search. He said the burning boat drifted into Hong Kong waters and eventually sank.

Mr Wong said rescue boats sent by mainland authorities joined in the search.

The survivor did not say what caused the fire. He said the missing fisherman, aged about 30, had not been wearing a life jacket.

By nightfall there had been no sign of the missing man. The search was called off at 8pm but was expected to resume at first light today.