Shocking loss of life adds another grim chapter to the history of Hong Kong

PUBLISHED : Friday, 11 July, 2003, 12:00am
UPDATED : Friday, 11 July, 2003, 12:00am

The bus tragedy was the most serious traffic accident and one of the worst disasters in terms of lost lives for three decades in Hong Kong.

In 1973, 15 passengers were killed when their bus plunged down a ravine on Lantau.

The worst tragedy in recent times was the Garley Building fire in Yau Ma Tei in 1996, in which 40 people died and 80 were hurt.

Just hours into 1993, 20 people were killed and more than 100 injured in a stampede by some of the 20,000-strong crowd celebrating New Year's Eve in Lan Kwai Fong.

Thousands of people surged into the streets from restaurants and bars when, at the stroke of midnight, cheering turned to screams as people fell in the surging crowd, sparking panic.

Before the Garley Building fire, 11 workers were incinerated when fire broke out at a North Point wig factory in January 1981.

Forty-five people were injured in the October 1986 fire at the 16-storey Blue Box industrial building in Aberdeen, which took 68 hours to extinguish.

On Boxing Day 1984, a blaze gutted 150 vessels in the Aberdeen typhoon shelter, leaving more than 1,700 fishermen homeless.

The lives of seven people were lost on Christmas Eve 1990, when fire tore through a cage home in Shamshuipo. Scores of trapped and panicked elderly people had their escape routes blocked by tightly packed cages, illegal structures, locked gates and rubbish piled high in stairwells.

In February 1991, on the eve of the Lunar New Year, rioting South Vietnamese boat people at Sek Kong camp set fire to a hut packed with North Vietnamese, killing 24 and injuring dozens.

In February 1996, the Pat Sin Leng hill fire in the New Territories claimed the lives of two teachers and three students on a hiking trip. Typhoons and rainstorms have been responsible for several disasters throughout the years. In 1983, Typhoon Ellen ripped through Hong Kong, leaving six dead and 333 injured. About 80,000 homes were without electricity and claims for damage rose to $300 million.

In August, 1988, a CAAC airliner crashed in a rainstorm at Kai Tak airport, careening off the runway and landing with its nose in the water. The pilot, five crew and a passenger were killed.

In 1991, Typhoon Fred flipped over an oil barge, killing 12 crew members and throwing the remaining 195 overboard.

A landslide in Kwun Lung Lau Estate in July 1994 killed five and left three injured.

Two plane crashes have also be caused as a result of rainstorms in recent times.

An August 1988 crash at Kai Tak airport killed seven people and injured 12 after torrential rain caused a China Trident jet to skid off the runway into the nullah.

A China Airlines jet crash-landed at Chek Lap Kok in August 1999 and overturned in flames, killing three and injuring 210 others on board after landing during a No8 signal hoisted for Typhoon Sam.