Report into the Port Island fatality

I’ve just come across a report into the fatal accident off Port Island (Chek Chau / 赤洲) on 27 July 2008, where a diver was killed by a turning propellor. It was compiled by the Marine Accident Investigation Section of the Marine Department. This report is not intended to apportion blame or liability, but to try and identify the factors involved with a view to avoiding similar incidents in future.

Their conclusions are basically as follows

  • The weather was squally with strong winds, heavy rain and rough seas.
  • The diver was drawn into and struck by the propellor of the Crescent Island pleasure vessel
  • The Crescent Island had grounded on a rocky beach after dragging its anchor, and the Master engaged the engine to try and free the boat, not realising that the diver was near the stern waiting to board.

Inevitably there were complications. The Master was concerned the vessel might capsize, and this was the second time the Master had engaged the engine. In the meantime an unrelated speedboat had towed several divers (including the victim) close to the Crescent Island so they could board. One of the dive instructors was supposedly acting as a lookout at the stern of the vessel, but didn’t see the speedboat or the divers.

The full report is here.

About Neil Hambleton

I am a British Sub-Aqua Club (BSAC) Advanced Diver and an Open Water Instructor. I have been diving since 1992, after joining South China Diving Club (SCDC), which is a Hong Kong-based branch of the BSAC. Having moved to New Zealand, I am now a member of BSAC New Zealand.
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