Death Toll in Hong Kong Maritime Accident Rises to 38

Lipcon, Marguiles, Alsina & Winkleman, P.A

In what authorities are calling the worst maritime accident in 40 years for the area, the death toll on a boating accident that took place in Hong Kong is up to 38 victims, including four children. The incident took place Monday when a ferry collided with a party boat near Lamma Island. Police have arrested seven crewmembers in connection with the tragedy.

According to Police Commissioner Tsang Wai-hung, the crewmembers who were taken into custody are under investigation for negligence because they did not “exercise the care required of them by law.” Vessel operators are required by maritime law to ensure the safety of all passengers. When crew personnel are found to act in a negligent manner or are accused of some form of wrongdoing, the vessel’s operating company may be held liable for any injuries or fatalities that ensue.

Over 120 employees of the Hong Kong Electric Company were onboard the Lamma IV vessel with their families Monday evening. The vessel had gone out to sea in order to enjoy a fireworks show celebrating China’s National Day when it collided with the ferry. Seven rescue boats, including a diving support vessel, were sent out to help victims, but because the accident happened at night, visibility was low. Officials were able to recover the bodies of 28 victims from the water and eight other victims were declared deceased at nearby hospitals. Two other bodies found onboard the vessel raised the death toll to 38 by Tuesday night. Four passengers are still in serious or critical condition. The remaining victims were already treated for their injuries.

Those who survived the tragic boat accident describe the incident as being extremely frantic and disorganized. They claim the crew did not know what they were doing and were not properly trained on how to handle an emergency situation.

The last time a maritime accident of this magnitude occurred was in 1971, when 88 people were killed as a result of a Hong Kong-Macau ferry sinking during a typhoon. This new incident has called into question the safety of Hong Kong’s Victoria Harbor, especially because it is one of the world’s busiest ports. Although authorities contend it is one of the safest ports, an investigation into the safety standards of the port must now be conducted.

While this accident is extremely tragic, victims and loved ones of smaller accidents that occur at sea also deserve to have someone fight for their rights. If you or someone you know was injured or killed onboard personal watercrafts, a boat, jet ski, or a larger vessel, such as a ferry boat or cruise ship, turn to our maritime lawyers immediately for assistance. Our attorneys have over 165 years of combined experience in securing compensation for victims and will help your case resolve favorably.

Like this particular accident, most maritime injuries or fatalities are the direct result of someone’s negligence. Vessel authorities that do not ensure passengers are safe may be held responsible for any accidents that result from their negligent actions. Our lawyers work hard so that anyone who contributed to your pain and suffering is held accountable for their wrongdoing. We will also work diligently to secure you and your loved ones the benefits you deserve, including money damages and medical care. Call Lipcon, Margulies, Alsina and Winkleman, P.A. today to see how you can protect your rights as a victim.