Ferry Crash Near Hong Kong’s Lantau Island Injures 85 People

A high-speed ferry hit an unidentified object while en route to Macau from Hong Kong early today, injuring 85 people, the vessel’s operator said.

The collision occurred about 1:15 a.m., about 15 minutes after the Jetfoil Madeira departed Hong Kong carrying 105 passengers and 10 crew members, according to an e-mailed statement from Shun Tak Holdings Ltd., which operates the 24-hour ferry service. Nineteen of the injured are in hospitals in stable condition, while 66 had been released as of noon today, according to a separate statement from the company.

Hong Kong’s marine safety has come under scrutiny after a collision between two vessels in July last year killed 39 people off Lamma Island in the most deadly incident in the city’s waters since 1971. Hong Kong is the world’s third-busiest container port behind Shanghai and Singapore, according to the World Shipping Council.

The Madeira, which completed its annual check-up and maintenance in October, was tugged back to a shipyard for an investigation by the Hong Kong Marine Department, the company said.

Janice Lam, a Hong Kong-based spokeswoman for Shun Tak, said earlier today the company is trying to determine what the boat crashed into.

Hong Kong-listed Shun Tak, controlled by the family of Macau casino tycoon Stanley Ho, began the ferry service in 1961, according to the company’s website. It carries about 10 million passengers a year between Hong Kong, Macau and other southern Chinese cities including Zhuhai.

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