Two bodies recovered from sunken Ukranian tug in Hong Kong waters
( dpa ) - Two bodies have been recovered from the Ukranian tug which sank in Hong Kong waters four days ago with 18 sailors trapped on board, officials confirmed Wednesday.
Divers discovered the two bodies in the early hours of Wednesday morning, said a Hong Kong government spokesperson.
One was close to the entrance of the engine room on the main deck. No details have been released on the location of the second body.
The Polish-made vessel sank with 18 crew members on board after a collision with a freighter in thick fog on Saturday night between Hong Kong's Kowloon peninsula and Lantau Island.
Seven survivors were rescued from the water within an hour of the accident, but the remainder where trapped as the tug sank upside down 35 metres below the surface of the sea.
A team of 130 fire, marine and other rescuers were deployed in the hope that some of the sailors may be trapped alive but as time passed hopes of finding survivors faded.
The recovery of the two bodies came just hours after a delegation of Ukranian officials led by the vice-minister of transport and communication, Shevchenko Vasyl Vasylyovych, arrived in Hong Kong Tuesday evening to follow up the accident.
A report in the South China Morning Post Wednesday claimed an inspection on the 80-metre tug six months ago had revealed a catalogue of safety flaws.
The boat, made in 1989, was loaded with drilling equipment and was heading for the South China Sea oilfield from Shenzhen in southern China at the time of the accident.
If the 18 missing are confirmed dead, the incident will count as the worst single marine accident in Hong Kong's busy but closely regulated waters for decades.