by Staff Writers
Hong Kong (AFP) Dec 29, 2012
Twenty-six people were injured on Saturday in a collision between a Hong Kong-bound passenger ferry and a buoy in Macau, authorities said.
The ferry crashed into the buoy in Macau's Outer Harbour around 10 minutes after it left the ferry terminal at approximately 12:15 pm (0415 GMT), Macau Maritime Administration senior technical officer Lam Son told AFP.
All of the injured were taken to a local hospital after the ship was towed back to the terminal, Lam said.
"It was said that the boat went off course, so it crashed into a buoy," Lam said, adding the ferry was not speeding and that the visibility was poor at only 0.8 nautical miles.
"Just by looking at the vessel, it doesn't seem to have extensive damage, but initial investigations showed that one of its underwater wings had fallen into the sea," he said.
Lam said there were 175 passengers and eight crew members on board the vessel, and that everyone was accounted for. He also said the waterway reopened after forty-five minutes and that an investigation into the incident is under way.
Twenty-six people onboard suffered minor injuries, a government statement said, adding that "the ship lost power but did not have water leakage nor did it have the risk of sinking".
Television footage showed injured passengers being rushed off the ferry in stretchers, one-by-one, by emergency services.
A lot of passengers fell out of their seats because they were not wearing safety belts, a ferry passenger surnamed Leung told local television news channel Cable TV.
"Once the collision happened, I thought about the Lamma Island accident, so my wife and I immediately looked for life jackets to put on our son and ourselves," Leung said, referring to the deadly October ferry collision in Hong Kong.
Thirty-nine people died and 87 were injured in Hong Kong's worst maritime disaster in decades, when a high-speed ferry collided with a pleasure boat carrying around 120 passengers on a company trip to watch National Day fireworks.
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