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Ferry sinking off Lantau in typhoon claimed 88

Wednesday, October 03, 2012

The worst sea disaster in Hong Kong was in 1971 when Typhoon Rose swept past the territory leaving 110 dead, including 88 from a Macau ferry that sank.

The Hong Kong Observatory had hoisted the Number 10 typhoon signal when Rose pounded Hong Kong on August 16, 41 years ago. The Fat Shan was sailing between Macau and Hong Kong when the typhoon hit.

Carrying 92 passengers and crew, the vessel was forced to stop by strong winds off Stonecutters Island and anchored. But the anchor chain broke and the ship was dragged by the wind and sank off northeast Lantau Island, 120 meters from the shore.

The Fat Shan hit several other boats as it was pushed towards Lantau, and sank completely. The ship was exposed when the tide receded.

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The tragedy was discovered only when a British marine boat passed by and found people floating nearby. Only four survived the sinking.

During the typhoon, more than 20 boats were stranded.

Another ship also sank during the typhoon, and nine people died.

In 1991, after the fireworks display during Lunar New Year, two men died and 29 others were injured after their party boat collided with a vessel in Victoria Harbour.

Marine traffic regulations during fireworks displays were strengthened after an investigation.

KELLY IP


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