Hong Kong ferry disaster hits world's 'most delightful commute'

Hong Kong ferry disaster hits world's 'most delightful commute'

A ferry collision that left at least 38 dead brings to the spotlight a most elemental part of Hong Kong: the waterways

Hong Kong ferry disasterThe Lamma IV boat collided with a ferry on the night of October 1, killing more than 30 people. The captains of both boats and 5 other crew members have been arrested.

When my neighbor Jane Wilbor got on a Lamma ferry Tuesday, she did something she'd never done before with her three young children: She put on life preservers.

"I wanted to show them how to get one out and put one on," said Wilbor, whose three children -- Louie, 10, James, 9, and 7-year-old Eddie -- are playmates with my son 4-year-old son, Jonah, in Pak Kok, a small village of a few dozen families on Lamma Island, one of hundreds of islands that make up Hong Kong.

Our village was awoken by the sound of helicopters Monday night, as searchlights trained on the sea until the sunlight broke the next morning on a capsized boat just a few hundred meters offshore.

The ferry collision that left at least 38 dead -- including five children --is not an abstraction for those who live on Lamma, but a tragedy that puts the spotlight on an elemental part of our lives and the economic livelihood of Hong Kong: The busy waterways and the boats that connect the city.

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