HONG KONG (Reuters) – Eighteen Ukrainian sailors are missing after their tug boat sank off the Hong Kong coast following a collision with a cargo ship last night, local media reported on Sunday.
Seven people were rescued, including several that were taken to hospital, Hong Kong radio said.
The 18 crew members were believed to be trapped inside the engine room and the cabins of the boat, which was lying capsized at a depth of 35-metres on the seabed, RTHK radio quoted Wong Chung-shing, a Fire Services divisional commander, as saying.
The commander declined to speculate if the crew members might still be alive, but said as long as the ship had air inside, the sailors had a chance.
Divers had knocked on the vessel’s hull but had yet to get any response from inside, Wong added.
The ships collided at around 9 p.m. on Saturday, but divers were only sent to look for the vessel four hours later because they could not find the ship at the location given by marine police. It was possible the vessel had been swept along by strong currents while it was sinking, Wong said.