- (Photo: Reuters/Tyrone Siu)
A collision between a ferry and a company boat in Hong Kong resulted in the deaths of 37 people on Monday.
The Hongkong Electric Co. boat, controlled by billionaire Li Ka-shing, was taking more than 120 passengers to watch fireworks as part of a mid-autumn festival in the city's Victoria Harbor when the two vessels collided.
Five children were among the dead, and more than 100 people were rushed to the hospital, including nine who suffered from serious injuries or in critical condition, reported Reuters. Hong Kong police arrested six crewmembers Tuesday.
"We suspect that somebody did not fulfill their responsibilities, that's why we made the arrests," explained Police Commissioner Andy Tsang. "We do not rule out the possibility that further arrests will be made."
Crew members from both ships were arrested.
A major rescue effort involving dive teams, helicopters and boats were involved before the ferry descended underwater. A large crane on a barge was connected to the sunken boat.
"Within 10 minutes, the ship had sunk," recounted one male survivor, according to Reuters. "We had to wait at least 20 minutes before we were rescued."
Many survivors had to break windows in order to swim to the surface.
"We thought we were going to die," said another survivor. "Everyone was trapped inside."
The celebration revolved around China's National Day when the moon is full, and commemorates Hong Kong returning to Chinese from British rule in 1997.
Although Hong Kong has one of the busiest shipping lanes in the world, serious accidents are very rare. Monday's tragedy still has unidentified and unfound victims.
Kowloon Ferry Holdings, which owned the now-damaged ferry, said the company was trying to assess what happened.
"Our captain is not well and we have not been able to talk to him so far," said a spokeswoman for Kowloon speaking to local television.
Hong Kong leader Leung Chun-ying declared that mourning for the victims of the collision will start on Thursday, and promised survivors a thorough investigation.