Outrage over human errors in Hong Kong boat crash

October 4, 2012 • Business

A group of firemen and police officers investigate on a salvaged boat which sank after colliding with a ferry near Lamma Island, off the southwestern coast of Hong Kong Island Wednesday, Oct. 3, 2012. An official with the ferry company involved in the collision that killed 38 people said Wednesday that the vessel recently passed inspection, but he had no details about how the crash occurred. (AP Photo/Kin Cheung)

HONG KONG (AP) — When two boats filled with people collided on Hong Kong’s busy waterways, the impact knocked a hole in one vessel’s engine room and the water poured in too fast to stop the boat from sinking. Passengers struggled to find life vests and dozens drowned in the turbulent waters.

Rather than rush to help, however, the crew of the other vessel, a ferry, seemed paralyzed, according to witnesses. After pausing briefly near the doomed ship filled with holiday revelers, the ferry continued on to its berth.

Shock over Monday’s crash, which left 38 dead, gave way to outrage Wednesday over what experts concluded was human error. Investigators have not publicly offered a theory of how the collision occurred but have arrested seven crew members, including both captains.

The ferry company denied accusations that the boat left immediately after the crash, but did not say whether its crew did anything to help the other vessel as it rapidly sank.

The captain of the Sea Smooth ferry was in a hospital with rib injuries, said Nelson Ng, general manager of Hong Kong and Kowloon (Ferry) Holdings. He said staff members tried to talk to the captain, but he added, “We have to wait for the psychologist’s report. … He doesn’t really want to say anything.”

When asked whether the captain blames himself for the accident, Ng said, “He’s emotionally depressed, so I believe he probably does.” He did not release the captain’s Login to read more

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