Couples, parents and children were ruthlessly torn apart by the sea as the stricken Lamma IV sank. While survivors above searched in vain for relatives, powerful currents below swept their loved ones to different parts of the boat and the seabed.
Evidence to the commission of inquiry into the October 1 collision between the Hongkong Electric boat and the ferry Sea Smooth has drawn a grim picture of events immediately after the crash that claimed 39 lives.
Kwok Yin-tang, 37, and wife Wong Yee-yi, 28, who were on the main deck, handed over their daughter, Laura Kwok Leung-ying, 4, and son Matthew Kwok Man-hei, 3, to others in the hopes of saving them. The couple survived. Both children perished.
"Water covered my entire body. I lost sight of my husband, elder daughter and younger son," Wong recalled.
Laura was found floating face-down in the sea. Matthew's body was found on the upper deck.
British boy Nicholas Chi-ho Belshaw, 7, was found on the seabed while his mother Wendy Ie Hwie's body was flushed from the upper deck while the vessel was being stabilised.
The body of Yumi Au Hiu-lam, 20, was found in the wheelhouse on the upper deck, hand in hand with two others. Her boyfriend Edwin Hui Ka-wai was found on the main deck with severe crushing injuries.
The body of Cheng Yin-lan, 40, was found inside the cabin while her daughter Yan Tsz-ki, 7, was found unconscious on a life raft. She also died.
Newly-wed Lam Ka-man, 30, was on the port side of the upper deck, while his wife, Lau Man-lai, 24, was on the starboard side.
Cheng Sin-kam, 64, and wife Chan Hau-luen, 55, died on the upper deck, with three others between them. Cheng was holding another woman Szeto Ying, 50. Szeto had been unable to grasp her niece, Lau Ching-nam, 11, but she was holding a boy, Cheung Chung-hin, 10, when she died.
The body of Tsui Chi-wai, 42, and his unconscious daughter Tsui Hoi-ying, 10, were found by different rescuers. Hoi-ying died four days later in hospital.
Wong Tai-wah found his wife So Kwai-woon, 60, and another woman, Fu Yuk-ling, 42, and swam towards rescuers. Both women died later.