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.
Lamma IV sailor challenged over contradictory statements
A sailor on one of the ferries involved in the fatal Lamma Island ferry collision made contradictory statements to the commission of inquiry on Friday on whether or not he had alerted the coxswain about the approaching Sea Smooth vessel, with which it eventually collided
The Lamma IV sailor, Leung Tai-yau, said in a written statement read out in the inquiry that when he entered the vessel’s wheelhouse, via an open door, to report that he had patrolled the ship, coxswain Chow Chi-wai told him a ship was approaching, which Leung then took note of.
But later, Charles Sussex SC, representing the Sea Smooth owner and crew, pointed out that in a statement Leung gave to police shortly after the crash, he said he opened the wheelhouse door himself, saw a ship approaching, and alerted coxswain Chow. An account similar to this one was also contained in the statement Leung gave to marine department officials.
In an effort to explain the discrepancies, Leung said that right after the crash his mind went blank and this might have led to contradiction in his earlier statements.
When examined by counsel for the commission Paul Shieh Wing-tai, Leung re-iterated that as he stepped into the wheelhouse, Chow told him a ship was approaching, he looked on the left-hand side of the Lamma IV and saw the Sea Smooth, he told the coxswain the ship was approaching.
But Shieh said his statement sounded a bit contrived as his repeating of what Chow had told him was not a natural reaction.
Leung again said it was Chow who first saw the Sea Smooth approaching and that he did repeat Chow’s statement.
The hearing continues.