70 injured as Hong Kong high-speed ferry crashes in Macau

High-speed ferry slams into breakwater an hour after leaving Sheung Wan terminal

PUBLISHED : Friday, 13 June, 2014, 12:27pm
UPDATED : Saturday, 14 June, 2014, 3:24am

Sixty Hong Kong residents were among 70 people injured when a high-speed ferry carrying 233 passengers and crew members slammed into a breakwater off Macau's main ferry terminal yesterday.

The Turbojet ferry, Cacilhas, mounted the breakwater before listing to its right in the accident at about 9.30am, Macau's Marine and Water Bureau said.

"A hole was made in the bow of the vessel and the engines could be seen through the hole," a bureau spokeswoman said. "After the crash, the vessel listed to one side, ran aground and slightly took in water."

The impact happened at high tide, she said, and the breakwater might have been submerged. The bureau will investigate the cause of the incident. The vessel will be removed from the scene at high tide today.

The Macau-bound jetfoil left the Hong Kong-Macau ferry terminal in Sheung Wan at about 8.30am. The incident occurred as it entered Macau's inner harbour. At least four rescue boats were dispatched to evacuate passengers and crews from the jetfoil. They were ferried to the inner harbour ferry terminal and a temporary pier at Taipa.

One passenger recalled hearing several loud noises after the boat began listing to one side. "Some passengers were hurled out of their seats by the crash," he added.

Macau's Health Department said 46 men and 24 women, including nine crew members, were injured. They included 60 Hong Kong residents, four Korean tourists, one Japanese visitor and two Thai travellers.

"A 68-year-old [Hong Kong man] suffered a fracture in the cervical vertebra and needed to undergo surgery," it said. The others had minor injuries, mainly bruises and abrasions.

"Cacilhas was sailing under fine weather conditions at 35 knots (64km/h) when the incident happened," Turbojet said.

The jetfoil received its last annual inspection in July and the captain had 34 years of sailing experience on the same type of vessel, according to the operator.

Last month, more than 30 people were injured when a ferry from Tsim Sha Tsui to Macau collided with a mainland cargo ship near Cheung Chau.

Notable recent ferry crashes

May 21, 2014

Ferry bound for Macau from Hong Kong collides with cargo ship near Cheung Chau, injuring 37 people about 30 minutes into its journey.

November 29, 2013

Ferry bound for Macau from Hong Kong hits unidentified debris about 15 minutes after leaving Hong Kong, injuring 87 when the boat comes to a sudden halt.

December 30, 2012

Ferry bound for Hong Kong from Macau collides with buoy about 15 minutes after leaving macau, injuring 26, some as young as four years old.

October 1, 2012

Hong Kong Electric ferry Lamma IV from Lamma to Central collides with another ferry bound for Yung Shue Wan, killing 39 on the Lamma ferry and injuring a total of 92 on both boats.

October 21, 2011

Ferry from Cheung Chau bound for Central crashes into a mooring pillar five minutes after setting off from the outlying island, injuring 76 commuters, some critically.

November 5, 2009

Ferry from Tsim Sha Tsui collides with sand barge in Panyu, killing two ferry passengers and injuring nine more.

January 12, 2008

Two Hong Kong-Macau jetfoils crash near Macau, trapping 435 passengers inside vessels for three hours. Total of 135 injured.

March 22, 2008

Oil rig supply ship Neftegaz-67 capsizes and sinks after colliding with larger dry cargo bulk carrier Yao Hai near the Brothers islands off Lantau, killing 18 crew.

June 20, 2006

New World First Ferry from Macau to Hong Kong collides with boat from mainland as it leaves pier in Macau. Boat sinks. About 100 passengers and crew saved.

February 17, 2005

Boat to mainland collides with mainland vessel at Kap Shui Mun. Total of 102 people injured.

July 29, 2002

Eight-year-old girl and man die after motorised sampan with 14 people aboard hit by motorboat off Sha Lo Wan, Lantau Island. Twelve people on sampan seriously hurt.