19 feared dead as two ships collide off Hong Kong

March 23rd, 2008 - 9:17 am ICT by admin  

Hong Kong, March 23 (DPA) Marine police divers in Hong Kong were Sunday searching for survivors after at least 19 crewmembers were lost as two ships collided in thick fog. Seven people - six men and one woman - were pulled from the waters between Hong Kong’s Lantau Island and its Kowloon peninsula after the tugboat and freighter collided at around 9 p.m. Saturday.

Some crewmembers were thrown into the water by the force of the collision while others are believed to have been trapped inside a cabin aboard one of the vessels, a marine police spokesman said.

The freighter sank after the collision, which took place near to a group of islands called The Brothers, a few kilometres from the Hong Kong International Airport on Lantau island.

Thick fog had reduced visibility to as little as 700 metres at the time of the accident. Fireboats and a government helicopter joined in the search for survivors Sunday morning.

If the 19 missing are confirmed dead, the incident will count as the worst single marine accident in Hong Kong’s busy but closely regulated waters for decades.

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