Another body found at Tung Lung shipwreck site

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 09 December, 2010, 12:00am
UPDATED : Thursday, 09 December, 2010, 12:00am

One more body, believed to be one of the six mainland crew members missing after a barge collided with a ship on Tuesday, was found yesterday, taking the death toll to three.

Divers found the body of a man in the living quarters of the sand barge wreckage. It sank off Tung Lung Island to the east of Hong Kong early Tuesday.

A sea and air search for the remaining four men and a woman, believed to be asleep when the collision happened, continued yesterday. A plane and a helicopter were used.

The barge, Runz 001, overturned and sank after colliding with a mainland container vessel. All the 14 crew members on the barge fell into the choppy waters. Two men, including the barge captain, died and six were rescued on Tuesday.

The cargo ship's nine crew members were unhurt.

A spokesman for the Marine Department said that the rescue operation remained difficult to conduct because weather conditions and visibility had not improved much yesterday.

'The divers tried to investigate further, but failed,' he said. 'The sunken wreckage moves with the current, which is dangerous.'

The spokesman said the department would arrange a lift crane barge to stabilise the wreckage today.

Asked when the wreckage would be lifted, he said it depended on the rescue progress.

The cargo ship, Hui Jin Qiao 08, was heading to Shantou from Tsing Yi. It was carrying chemicals and is thought to have changed its direction before the incident.

Crew on the ship claimed that it shifted direction because an automatic identification system had broken down, a government officer said.

The Marine Department will investigate when and where the cargo ship turned.

The search and rescue operation was still on-going overnight.