BLOG – Full Lowdown: HK Lamma Ferry Disaster

Pictures below via Reuters, AP, AFP and Xinhua…

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37 people died in the ferry collision on Monday night. The crew have been arrested and released on bail.

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Survivors say the Lamma IV sank within 10  minutes and rescuers arrived within 20 minutes.

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CY Leung has promised an enquiry. Councillors have called for a sea safety revamp.

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Hong Kong’s safety standards are high. The last such disaster was in 1971 when a typhoon caused a ferry to capsize, killing 88.

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The crew of the Lamma IV were detained under suspicion of “endangering passengers by operating the craft unsafely“.

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The Lamma Strait is a busy shipping channel and the incident took place on the evening of the annual National Day fireworks display.

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Hong Kongers are sharing their grief on social networks

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…A moment’s silence from HK’s leaders…

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…As the news made local and international headlines…

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Commemorations have begun around the city…

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Cheung Kong Holdings is providing HK$200,000 for victim’s families whilst the Li-Ka Shing Foundation is putting up HK$30million in compensation.

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Flags remained at half mast…

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Google included a tribute on Wednesday…

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Reports on Tuesday night’s TVB Pearl English News report with Andrew Lau and Temily Tianmay…

Some other shots from the news wires…

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A quote from a survivor on the forum…

I was on the Lamma ferry that departed Central at 8 pm. The ferry crashed shortly before arriving at Lamma pier. Strangely, none of the news reports I’ve seen so far (as of 10:51 pm), whether in Chinese or English, mentioned that the Lamma ferry crashed. The ferry crashed directly into something (apparently the gai do) and threw people forward in the cabin. About five minutes after the crash, the ferry began to take on water near the front of the cabin on the first floor. People began to be very frightened at that point.

We put on life vests and went toward the back of the ferry. During this whole time, we received no information or instructions from any of the HKKF crew. I think this probably made people even more frightened. Luckily for us on the ferry, the crash seemed to have occurred close to the pier, and the ferry made it to the pier, where all of the passengers disembarked, apparently with only minor injuries. When we got off, there was no rescue personnel waiting, even though at this point, it had been about fifteen minutes since the crash, and the HKKF crew seemed to be more worried about people walking off with life vests than whether or not the passengers were ok. My wife tried to speak with the police, who eventually showed up, but they seemed equally uninterested in what had happened on the ferry.

A video of the long queues to Lamma on the day of the incident…

Some have noted how seemingly over-worked and underpaid the ferry staff were. From the forum…

I have heard of HKKF staff complained of low wages on the ferry. And I have seen them taking their rice pots around too. It was a very busy day on Lamma so these HKKF guys could have been made to work really hard all day. At any rate, I hope there will be a thorough investigation into this, exactly how this accident happened, and the safety and working conditions of HKKF’s ferries.

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