Wednesday, October 3, 2012

My near Hong Kong Ferry Disaster just off Lamma Island

This BLOG is sponsored by my businesses. I blatantly do this with no apologies ;-)  
Misty Hollow Carvingwas launched in October 2008 – so it is approaching its 4th birthday.   Misty Hollow Digital Images was launched on September 26, 2012.

You are welcome to visit both the Wood Carvings site and the Digital Image site by clicking on to the links shown above.

To help me promote my Web Site please copy this URL address and email to someone today and - which will take you to “Crop Circles’ Web Site”  where all my images are available.

My near Hong Kong Ferry Disaster just off Lamma Island
What started out as a special night for people aboard the small, private ferry ended in a disaster of mega proportions the other night.  The small ferry sank near Lamma Island as its crew was pulling it out and away from the shore line with its 124 passengers on board.

The ferry was carrying employees from the Hong Kong Electric Company and their friends out to watch the Fireworks being fired off that night. It was a huge celebration night in Hong Kong.

I can see it as if I was there.  In fact I was there 25 years ago in almost the same location.

You were there?  Yes, with my family.

How did this memory come back so vividly this morning?  Well the news clip from Hong Kong this AM told the story clearly for me and the memories flooded back again with a new shudder.

It was 25 years ago right about now. My family had taken a day away from the hustle and bustle of Hong Kong. We had boarded the ferry to Cheung Chau Island. 

The cruise on the ferry was always a highlight as we headed out away from the ferry dock and into the huge harbour of Hong Kong.  It slowly cruised westward toward open water.  As we headed to Cheung Chau, the Lamma Island was on our left side – just around the corner from the end of Hong Kong Island.

It was a wonderful day on the Island hiking and spending time by the Ocean.  As the day started to wind down we again boarded the old ferry to head back to the Hong Kong Island and its ferry dock – and then home.

Our home bound ferry was just beside Lamma Island cruising at its almost full speed when suddenly it lurched to the right with a shudder… and the motors revved up straining making the boat shake violently!  The ferry slowed to a stop facing the edge of Hong Kong Island and partially turned to Lamma Island.

We had been sitting on the back deck of the ferry facing the sunshine.  Now we were able to see clearly what our ferry almost hit… but thankfully the Captain of our boat had kept control in an excellent way and avoided any tragedy.

There beside our ferry perhaps 100 yards from our stern was a Submarine rising from the water with great fanfare.  As it broke the surface of the water and righted itself the hatch opened and a number of men climbed to the deck to stand looking out at the ferry and Hong Kong Island.

We had almost collided with a surfacing Submarine… way too close for comfort.  Had we been another 200 yards ahead in our journey… just seconds… the Submarine would have surfaced directly below our ferry.

How in the world could that happen?  The Submarine was manned by not so good sailors from India. As the men poured up on deck they all had their white dress Turbans on their heads. And on the side of Submarine was a painted the flag of India.

At the time it was way over the top in excitement and storytelling for our family. At the end of the day it was a dangerous situation avoided and a site worth remembering – a real submarine so very close to us… and a wise Ferry Captain that had saved his(our)boat.

It was in the newspapers the next day… the wayward Submarine from India that was either lost or in trouble below the water line… and surfaced for their entry to the Hong Kong harbour.

I haven’t thought of that Submarine story for years.

But this morning after reading the articles about the ferry sinking in Hong Kong and one British Child losing his life along with 35 other people… it was shocking for me!  All over again I felt the shudder of the huge ferry’s motors struggle for safety.

How did this ferry disaster happen anyway?

Apparently another ferry pushed up against the back of the smaller ferry – rammed the smaller one. People were standing or sitting on the back of the smaller ferry when the larger one smashed into it. Add to the fact that the smaller one was likely backing up with its thrusters moving the craft… the impact was great.

The big boat severely damaged the little one… and water rushed into the smaller one and the boat sank in the harbour.

My guess is uneducated… but there had to be people that were close to the back of that boat and that may well have been crushed by the impact and the damaged metal flying in all directions. If they were there… nothing would have stopped the death of many people.

A little boy from Britain was in that mess along with others that died.

It has been 25 years or so since I was close to a very similar situation… only a few hundred yards further to the north from where the Lamma Island is.

Yes today is one that I will think of the tragedy of on this 2012 National Day in Hong Kong.

God help the families that have lost their loved ones in this terrible and foolish mess.

How can it happen…?  In Hong Kong it is crowded and taxis fight and shove to find space to get their passengers where they need to go.  And I am quite sure that one time taxi drivers now operate the ferries in Hong Kong. And they all want to be first in line.

Murray Lincoln
Story References

For your inspection

No comments: