Updated: Fri, 19 Apr 2013 11:24:15 GMT | By Agence France-Presse

Search continues for 6 missing crew in Hong Kong

Hong Kong search teams held out hope Friday for six boat crew members missing at sea after a collision, as officials investigated the cause of the latest incident to hit the city's busy waterways.


Search continues for 6 missing crew in Hong Kong

File picture shows a construction barge in the morning fog in Hong Kong on April 14, 2012. Hong Kong search teams held out hope Friday for six boat crew members missing at sea after a collision, as officials investigated the cause of the latest incident to hit the city's busy waterways.

It comes after a ferry crash claimed 39 lives in October in the city's worst sea disaster in decades, and also follows a collision between a passenger ferry and a barge earlier this month, in which more than 30 people were injured.

The 11 crew from a 96-metre-long (315 foot) boat carrying construction waste were thrown into the water after it collided with another vessel and started to sink off Stanley, on the southeast of Hong Kong Island Thursday evening.

Five were rescued but search teams were still looking for the other six, all from mainland China, as the light faded Friday.

"The priority of the marine department now is to find the six missing crew, not their bodies," a spokeswoman told AFP.

She said investigators were looking at whether the boat crews tried to take evasive action before the crash.

After poor visibility hampered the overnight search, nine boats and a helicopter took part in the efforts Friday, although the aircraft was called off after about five hours because of fog.

The marine department said visibility at the time of the crash was measured at 0.5 nautical miles (0.93 kilometres).

A police spokeswoman said officers had taken statements from seven crew members from the two boats.

The city's worst maritime catastrophe in 40 years last October saw a high-speed passenger ferry collide with a pleasure boat carrying around 120 people to watch national day fireworks.

The captains of the boats involved were last week each charged with 39 counts of manslaughter and face life in prison if convicted.

Fatal accidents are rare in Hong Kong despite its crowded waters, which often see high-speed hydrofoils vying for space with tourist junks, luxury yachts and a century-old public ferry system.

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