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.
Sea Smooth pair: We didn't think Lamma IV passengers were overboard
Sea Smooth pair tell court they sailed away after the accident because they did not know there were Lamma IV passengers overboard
Two Sea Smooth crew members never considered that passengers from the Lamma IV might be in the sea and need rescuing after the vessels collided, the commission of inquiry heard yesterday.
Sailor Wong Tai-yau and engineer Lo Pui-kay were quizzed by lawyers over their actions after the two ferries collided, and why the Sea Smooth had sailed away.
Wong told Clive Grossman SC, for the owner and crew of Lamma IV, that he had not realised there would be damage to the other vessel, and that his priority was to look after his own passengers.
"At that time, the light of our cabin was much brighter than outside, and therefore I couldn't see anything outside," he said.
When questioned further, he admitted that he only checked the starboard side of the vessel, but had seen nothing.
Grossman asked Wong why he did not check the port side of the ship, where the collision occurred. Wong said he had yelled to the passengers, asking if anyone had fallen overboard, and they said no.
He then hurried to check on the welfare of passengers on the main deck.
Facing similar questions, Lo said he walked to the port bridge wing but could not see any people in the sea. He noted that the atmosphere on the ship at that moment had been chaotic.
Lo then saw reefs nearby and asked the coxswain Lai Sai-ming to steer the ship out of their path.
As the ship began to tilt, panicked passengers urged Lai to sail back to Yung Shue Wan pier, and the crew acceded to their demands. Before the inquiry, Lo had refused to tell police why the vessel sailed away.
None of the three crew members had sat beside Lai to assist with lookout duties before the collision. Lo had found it more comfortable to sit at the back.
Lai was planning to meet his new lawyer after yesterday's hearing to seek legal advice. Charles Sussex SC had withdrawn from representing the crew on Monday.