Hong Kong boat captains charged over deadly crash

Both Hong Kong boat captains charged with 39 counts of manslaughter over collision last year

Associated Press

HONG KONG (AP) -- Hong Kong authorities filed 39 counts of manslaughter Wednesday against the two boat captains whose vessels collided last year in the city's worst maritime disaster in decades.

The charges filed by police are for every death in the Oct. 1 crash. Five other crew members were arrested after the accident and have been ordered to report back to court later.

The Lamma IV boat was taking power company staff and their families to see holiday fireworks when it sank rapidly after colliding with a commuter ferry, the Sea Smooth, near Lamma Island. All of the dead, including eight children, and most of the nearly 100 injured were on the smaller boat, owned by the Hong Kong Electric Co.

An inquiry into the crash wrapped up in March and is expected to submit its findings and recommendations later this month. The inquiry heard testimony from survivors and examined the vessels' exterior lights, crew members' steering and radar use, and design flaws on the Lamma IV, including a missing water-tight door.

The crash was Hong Kong's worst maritime disaster since 88 people died in a ferry accident during a typhoon in 1971.

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