Police promise full investigation into boating death of schoolboy

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 20 August, 2005, 12:00am
UPDATED : Saturday, 20 August, 2005, 12:00am

Police are investigating the circumstances surrounding the drowning of an 11-year-old boy on Thursday who died when a dinghy he and three others were sailing capsized off Stanley.

Jonathan Chin Kin-chun, 11, was taking part in a summer water sports course held by the Royal Hong Kong Yacht Club.

The Marine Police South divisional commander, acting Superintendent Heung Wai-leung, said initial investigations showed there were 'suspicious circumstances'.

'Our crime officers will investigate whether there was human negligence and check whether ropes had been properly tied up on board at the time of the incident,' he said.

A spokesman for the Marine Department said its accident investigation section would launch a separate inquiry.

'Our investigators will make recommendations over the safety of water sports for our director Tsui Shung-yiu to follow up,' he said.

Jonathan drowned in the sea off Stanley after the dinghy he and three others were sailing in capsized. Strong winds were blamed for the accident.

Police said the boy was trapped by ropes and a cable underneath the flipped boat. The three others - two nine-year-old boys and a 17-year-old assistant sailing instructor - were rescued.

Meanwhile, an employee from the club's sailing office said all its sailing courses were cancelled yesterday but that other sailing courses were expected to continue next Monday. She said the club would rearrange other classes for affected participants or refund their fees.

Another staff member declined to comment on whether the club's safety measures would be reviewed. Neither would say whether the club would hold a memorial service for the boy.