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Scores injured in Hong Kong ferry collision

A high-speed ferry has hit an unidentified object while returning from Macau with over 170 people on board, Hong Kong officials say. Many of the passengers were hurt in the collision, prompting a large rescue operation.

At least 100 people were injured in the accident off the Siu A Chau island near Hong Kong, Chinese officials said on Sunday.

The ferry lost power after colliding with an "unidentified object" in the water, according to the boat's operator, Shun Tak.

The local media quoted passengers who described there being chaos after the crash.

"It went dark. A lot of people were injured and many were bleeding," one man with a bandage on his head told Apple Daily newspaper.

The high-speed vessel was returning to

Hong Kong from nearby Macau,

carrying 163 passengers and 11 crew members.

The authorities mounted a large rescue operation, involving air services, marine police and the fire department, according to the reports.

A reporter for the AFP news agency later saw some 20 ambulances waiting at a Hong Kong pier to transfer passengers for treatment.

The ship was towed back to the Hong Kong island.

Crowded waters

The injured were treated in five different hospitals in the Chinese metropolis, although the extent and severity of their injuries were not immediately known, a police official told Reuters.

The official added that the authorities had started

investigating the cause

of the incident.

Last year, a Macau-bound ferry crashed into a seawall off the coast, injuring over 50 people. Macau is the only part of China where gambling is legal, making it a popular tourist destination for visitors from China and abroad.

The hectic commercial and tourist traffic, along with numerous pleasure vessels, make Hong Kong one of the busiest shipping channels in the world.

dj/tj (AFP, Reuters)

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