A diver who helped retrieve bodies from the sinking Lamma IV after the National Day ferry disaster recalled yesterday that it was like a washing machine inside the cabin. The Lamma IV collided with the ferry Sea Smooth near Lamma Island as it carried passengers to view a fireworks display, killing 39. Fire Services Department diver Yuen Ka-wai told a commission of inquiry that he was pushed into the cabin of the Lamma IV by a strong current after divers broke windows. Clearing debris from the cabin, he saw a man’s body trapped by benches on the main deck. He retrieved the body and handed it to another fireman. “When I was in the cabin, the water rushed in. It was like being in a washing machine,” he said. At a depth of three metres he felt as though he was being pulled to the surface by the strong current. “I had to fix my position with force. It was rather difficult when I wanted to hand over the body to the diver at the cabin exit,” he recalled. Firemen made 12 dives between 10.45pm on October 1 and 7.45am the following day, the commission heard. They retrieved 21 bodies from the upper deck, two from the main deck, two floating on the surface and a boy from the seabed. They later retrieved two more bodies after the Lamma IV was lifted up by a crane. Some of the victims were not wearing lifejackets. The hearing continues.