Hong Kong Ferry Crash Injures Over 120 In Collision With ‘Unknown Object’

A Hong Kong ferry crash injured ferry patrons while speeding through the waters. The ferry captain claims an “unknown object” is to blame. The Hong Kong ferry crash occurred as the ferry returned from Macau to Hong Kong carrying 163 passengers and 11 crew members. After slamming into an object off the Soko Islands, near the island of Siu A Chau, authorities received calls of a power outage on board. People were brought over to Hong Kong’s central financial district before getting further assistance. They were then ushered into five different hospitals in Hong Kong.

Crash victims were left to their own devices until help arrived. The injured ferry riders were at the whims of the ocean and without power. One hundred twenty-one people were injured with 14 reported to have serious injuries. The ferry captain stated that the ferry hit an “unknown object.” No further elaboration was given. A passenger rescued back to Hong Kong’s main island told South China Morning Post what chaotic scene was witnessed aboard the ferry.

“Some could not even move. The lights suddenly went out. It was chaotic at first but then the passengers managed to calm down soon. Everyone was bleeding. I was injured on my forehead, arms and legs.”

The waters around Hong Kong are an important trade hub, shuffling businessmen and women, local residents, and tourists to and from Macau and the many islands which compose the region. Until recently, accidents were rare. But the latest crash comes just two weeks after another high-speed ferry had a fire, leading all 134 on board to be evacuated. Everyone left the scene unharmed.

But other perilous maritime events took place last year, further confirming changed perceptions about water travel around Hong Kong. In 2014, incidents occurred in February, May, and June. The February incident took place near Tuen Mun, one of Hong Kong’s earliest settled areas. People travelling from mainland China to an airport in Hong Kong were jolted by a small collision with a container ship during conditions of heavy fog. No one was injured, and the ferry, carrying 82 passengers and 10 crew, continued on its way after authorities arrived for an initial investigation.

Another collision with a cargo ship occurred with a ferry vessel travelling to Macau from Hong Kong in May of last year. The cargo ship was travelling from mainland China before it collided with the ferry, leaving 30 people injured. The accident took place near the small Hong Kong island of Cheung Chau.

A more serious incident occurred in June last year, when 70 people were injured. A high-speed ferry carrying 233 total people hit a structure designed to reduce wave intensity. People were propelled out of their seats and a hole tore through the ferry body.

A spokesperson for the Marine and Water Bureau of Macau told South China Morning Post what kind of damage was sustained.

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

Before that, in October, 2012, the worst maritime incident in 40 years occurred, as The Straits Times recalls. In the incident, two ferries crashed, killing almost 40 people and injuring 92, and devastating locals who prided themselves on maritime safety.

Accidents have been rising in recent years. There has been at least one notable Hong Kong maritime accident per year since 2011. Before that, incidents were much less frequent, keeping Hong Kong and Macau’s residents, tourists, and international business community relatively safe while travelling. The rise in accidents is a reflection of increasing sea vessel activity. Today’s Hong Kong ferry crash is a symptom of a problem which has not yet been properly addressed.

[Photo by Lam Yik Fei/Getty Images]