Lamma ferry crash

Hong Kong shares ferry victims' agony as mourning draws to a close

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 07 October, 2012, 12:00am
UPDATED : Sunday, 07 October, 2012, 11:34am

With the death of nine-year-old Tsui Hoi-ying on Friday - the 39th victim of the disaster - people who visited a condolence point yesterday said they could viscerally feel the agony of her mother, who had already lost her husband in the tragedy.

Yesterday was the last of the three days of mourning marked by the government. The Sunday Morning Post visited a condolence point in Leighton Hill Community Hall, which has seen an average of 1,000 visitors a day since Thursday, according to a staff member.

One of the visitors was Elizabeth Chan, who works at Pamela Youde Nethersole Eastern Hospital. Her colleagues had been treating Hoi-ying as she battled for her life, she said.

"I heard that when her mother was brought to the hospital, she did not know her husband was dead but was told her daughter was in critical condition.

"Upon hearing what happened to her, she fainted. You can just imagine how heartbroken she must be right now. I have an eight-year-old daughter myself," said Chan, who grew emotional as she spoke.

As it was the weekend, many parents were seen dropping in to leave a message of remembrance with their young children in tow. The Home Affairs Bureau had set up 18 condolence points in each of the city's districts throughout the days of mourning.

Another visitor to the Leighton Hill condolence point was Candy Law Suk-ling and her daughter Katie, who is Tsui's age. "Even though Hong Kong is just a small city, I've really felt that everyone was united in the face of disaster," said Law.

"In the future, I will have to teach my daughter how to face emergency situations, such as where to look for life vests and exits on a boat."

The nightly Symphony of Lights fireworks display over Victoria Harbour was suspended during the three days of mourning and will recommence at 8pm tonight.

Chan said her colleagues at the hospital had undergone a lot of emotional toil in helping the patients from the crash.

"It is certainly different from dealing with regular patients because this is a tragedy that happened in an instant."

She urged the government to reach out to the victims and their families by offering them professional counselling.

"Their families have been torn apart, and they may lose the will to live if they do not receive professional guidance," she said.