Skip to navigationSkip to content

Photo essay: a Hong Kong pleasure craft sinks on China’s birthday

This article is more than 2 years old.

A deadly collision between two passenger boats in Hong Kong has raised questions about safety in the port city that is one of Asia’s main transport hubs. A ferry and a smaller boat carrying families and workers of a utility company crashed along the coast of Hong Kong Island on Oct. 1, killing at least 37 people and injuring dozens of others. Thousands of commuters take ferries every day to travel between the city’s main islands. “Pleasure boating” (pdf) or short cruises are also increasingly common in Hong Kong and China. The revelers on the evening of Oct. 1 were preparing to watch fireworks for China’s National Day and the mid-autumn festival, a Chinese holiday.

AP Photo / Kin Cheung
Workers check on a damaged passenger ferry that collided with another boat in Victoria Harbour. Those aboard the ferry suffered minor injuries and the boat returned to port while the smaller boat sank within 10 minutes, witnesses said.
AP Photo / Kin Cheung)
Six people, three crew from each vessel, were arrested as investigation of the incident continues. Hong Kong police said they expect to make more arrests.
AP Photo/Kin Cheung
The boat that sank carried more than 120 people, mostly workers and their families from the Hong Kong Electric Company. One witness said, “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.”
A young survivor carried by rescuers, was taken onto shore after the collision. The accident is Hong Kong’s worst in over a decade. Victoria Harbour has been one of the safest ports in the world.
AP Photo / Vincent Yu
A relative of  a victim threw paper money, or “ghost money” out to sea as tribute. In traditional Chinese funerals paper money is burned for the deceased to use in their afterlife.
AP Photo / Vincent Yu
Relatives of the victims tossed paper money into the air near Lamma Island, a popular tourist destination and site of the crash.
AP Photo / Vincent Yu
Relatives of the victims paid tribute near the site of the crash. In a statement, authorities said 101 people were sent to hospitals and 66 were discharged. A sea and land search for survivors was still underway.
AP Photo
Hong Kong government officials held a moment of silence for the victims during a news conference in Hong Kong on Oct. 2. Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying (fourth from the left) said: “This is definitely an isolated incident. The marine territory of Hong Kong is safe.”

📬 Kick off each morning with coffee and the Daily Brief (BYO coffee).

By providing your email, you agree to the Quartz Privacy Policy.