Hong Kong: A pleasure boat collided with a passenger ferry and sank off Hong Kong, leaving 36 people dead and sparking a frantic overnight search and rescue effort, officials said on Tuesday. (Agencies)
More than 120 passengers and crew were on the Hong Kong Electric company's vessel to watch a national day fireworks display in Victoria harbour on Monday evening when the collision occurred near Lamma island.
Scores of people were thrown into the choppy water and the company vessel sank within minutes, leaving only its bow protruding from the waves.
"Twenty eight were certified dead at the scene while eight others were certified dead upon arrival (at) hospitals," the government said in a statement, raising an earlier death toll by 11.
"Over 100 people were sent to five hospitals during the incident, nine of them have sustained serious injuries or are in critical condition.
"Rescue action will continue as Fire Service Department (FSD) cannot rule out that there are still people inside the vessel or missing."
All of the dead and most of the injured are believed to have been passengers or crew of the Hong Kong Electric vessel, which was reportedly packed with staff and their families hoping to enjoy the spectacular fireworks display.
Rescue teams in boats and helicopters spent the night scouring the sea around the site of the accident for signs of survivors, while dive teams entered the sunken boat.
"The low visibility and many obstacles on board... made it difficult for rescue," the FSD said.
Hong Kong: A pleasure boat collided with a passenger ferry and sank off Hong Kong, leaving 36 people dead and sparking a frantic overnight search and rescue effort, officials said on Tuesday.