Lamma ferry disaster
A boat owned by Hongkong Electric carrying more than 100 staff workers and their family members collided with a ferry in waters off Lamma Island at about 8.20pm on October 1, 2012. More than 100 passengers on the boat fell into the water. Thirty-nine people were confirmed dead after the accident. This is the deadliest boat accident in Hong Kong in 40 years.
Ferry captains held, as Leung vows inquiry on Lamma crash
The captains of a ferry and a pleasure boat which collided off Lamma Island, killing 38 people in the city’s worst maritime disaster in decades, were arrested on Tuesday with five other crew, officials said.
More than 120 passengers and crew were on a Hongkong Electric company vessel to watch a huge National Day fireworks display in Victoria Harbour on Monday evening when the collision occurred near Lamma island.
Scores of people were thrown into the choppy water from the company boat, which sank within minutes, leaving only its bow protruding from the waves.
The stricken ferry Sea Smooth limped to Lamma where its shaken, but relatively unharmed passengers disembarked.
Officials said the captain and three other personnel from the ferry had been arrested, along with the captain of the company vessel and two of its crew, for “endangering the safety of others at sea”.
Six of the detainees were released on bail, and the ferry captain was to be released on bail later, they added.
Police chief Tsang Wai-hung said the suspects “did not exercise the care required of them by law to ensure the safety of the vessels they were operating and the people on board”.
The arrests came after Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying declared that Thursday would be a day of mourning. He promised a thorough investigation by a committee that will be set up to establish how the disaster happened.
And he dismissed suggestions the city needed to overhaul its maritime rules to cope with its growth as a global trade and travel hub.
“This is definitely an isolated incident. The marine territory of Hong Kong is safe,” he said.
Before the start of his press conference, Leung and a team of government officials observed a minute of silence in honour of the victims.