HONG KONG – A high-speed ferry heading to Macau crashed into a breakwater in the Asian gambling hub’s harbour Friday, leaving 58 people with minor injuries.
The hydrofoil was carrying 220 passengers and 13 crew members when it hit the seawall at about 9:30 a.m. after departing from nearby Hong Kong about an hour earlier, the ferry’s operator, Shun Tak Holdings Ltd., said in a statement.
It said 57 passengers were injured, including eight Thais, four Koreans and one Japanese, and that one crew member suffered a “waist injury.” All were taken to a hospital and all but one have now been released, the company said.
The boat, steered by a captain with 34 years of experience, was travelling at 35 knots (40 miles, 65 kilometres) per hour in fine weather at the time of the accident, the statement added.
The accident is the third in eight months on the ferry route between the coastal Chinese territories of Macau and Hong Kong. The route is one of the world’s busiest, with vessels departing around the clock carrying visitors, many from mainland China, to and from the former Portuguese colony’s glitzy casinos. The Pearl River Delta, the body of water between the two cities, is also growing increasingly crowded with cargo ships and ferries plying routes to the mainland.
In May, 30 people were hurt when a Macau-bound high-speed ferry collided with a mainland Chinese cargo ship in Hong Kong’s western waters. In November, 87 people were injured when a hydrofoil heading to Macau hit an unidentified object off an outlying Hong Kong island.
Ship safety concerns have been magnified since Hong Kong suffered its worst maritime tragedy in decades in late 2012 when a boat sank after colliding with a commuter ferry, killing 39 people and injuring about 100.
© The Canadian Press, 2014