HONG KONG – At least eight people have died after a ferry collided with another boat off Hong Kong, hospital officials have told the BBC.
A rescue operation is continuing for passengers still missing five hours after a boat half-sank following Monday night’s collision near Lamma island.
One of the vessels was carrying 124 passengers.
Search teams had rescued more than 100 people from the water, local media reported.
More than 20 injured people had been taken to a hospital on Lamma island, a police spokesman was quoted as saying.
Lamma lies some three kilometres (two miles) south-west of Hong Kong island, and is popular with tourists and expatriates.
The crash happened around 2030 (1230 GMT) today.
It came during a busy period for passenger travel in Hong Kong, at the end of a long holiday weekend to mark the mid-autumn festival that this year coincides with China’s National Day on 1 October.
Power company Hong Kong Electric was reportedly using a commercial boat to take 124 staff and family to watch National Day fireworks in Victoria Harbour.
The vessel and another boat – reportedly a ferry operated by Hong Kong and Kowloon Ferry – collided, causing the HK Electric vessel to list, a company official was quoted as saying.
One survivor told The South China Morning Post: “After 10 minutes out a boat crashed into ours from the side at very high speed. The rear… started to sink. I suddenly found myself deep under the sea.
“I swam hard and tried to grab a life buoy,” added the man. “I don’t know where my two kids are.”
Hong Kong is one of the world’s busiest shipping channels. (BBC)