AT LEAST 37 people are now believed to have died after a ferry collided with party boat off Hong Kong.
Six crew from the two vessels have been arrested on suspicion of endangering passengers by operating the craft unsafely.
Salvage crews were raising the Lamma IV, which sank after colliding with the ferry as it carried partygoers to a fireworks show in Victoria Harbour celebrating China’s national day. The ferry was able to make it to dock.
More than 100 people were taken to hospital.
Police were interviewing survivors to find out if more people were still on board.
The government statement said low visibility and obstacles on the boat were making rescue efforts difficult. It said the possibility people were still in the vessel or missing could not be ruled out, though it did not give numbers.
“All of Hong Kong’s emergency forces are focused here,” said Hong Kong’s leader, chief executive Leung Chun-ying. “Wide-ranging rescue work is being carried out on in the sea, land and in the air.”
Mr Leung said he did not know what caused the collision but promised a thorough investigation.
Survivors said the boat started sinking rapidly after the collision. One woman told local television that she swallowed a lot of water as she swam back to shore. Another man said he did not know where his children were. Neither gave their names.