Lamma ferry crash

Ferry survivors recovering gradually, says health chief

PUBLISHED : Friday, 05 October, 2012, 6:04pm
UPDATED : Friday, 02 November, 2012, 1:31pm

Survivors of the Lamma ferry disaster are gradually recovering from their injuries and distress, Secretary for Food and Health Dr Ko Wing-man said on Friday.

Thirteen of about 100 people who were injured in the collision off Lamma Island on Monday evening remained in hospital on Friday. They included a nine-year-old girl in critical condition.

After visiting five of the injured and their family members at Queen Elizabeth Hospital, Ko said their condition was improving.

“The patients are recovering from their injuries… Also, some of the patients and their family members are less distressed than they were when I last visited them,” he said.

On Friday Hong Kong entered the second of three days’ mourning for the 38 people killed in the tragedy. Flags flew at half mast on government buildings while local media coloured their logos in black to pay tribute to the victims.

The collision between the Lamma IV and the Sea Smooth was the city’s worst maritime accident in decades. The Lamma IV, carrying more than 120 passengers on their way to watch National Day fireworks, sank quickly after the crash.

The wrecked vessel has been towed into shallow water to allow government inspectors to examine it for clues as to how the collision occurred. The investigation could take six months, officials say.

According to the Post-Crisis Counselling Network, dozens of people at risk of developing post-traumatic stress disorder have been counselled in the wake of the tragedy. They include survivors, rescuers and ordinary citizens.

Also on Friday, St Stephen’s Preparatory School in Stanley held a prayer for Primary Two pupil Nicholas Chi-ho Belshaw, who died in the collision, during a weekly assembly. The pupils read out the messages they had written on condolence cards earlier in the week.

Deputy principal Gordon Wong Sing-tung said some of the condolence cards will be given to Nicholas’ family. The seven-year-old has been mentioned in the Christian school’s daily morning prayers for the past two days.

Wong said Nicholas, a British-Chinese, loved football, tennis and chess. His mother, Wendy Ie Hwie, also perished in the disaster while his sister, Emma Belshaw, survived.