Maritime officials say 85 people were injured, some seriously, when a ferry travelling from Hong Kong to Macau hit an unidentified object.
Hong Kong's marine department said the high-speed hydrofoil, carrying 105 passengers and 10 crew, crashed at around 1:20 am on a tourist route near an outlying island.
The vessel managed to sail back to Hong Kong after the accident.
The accident is sure to stir public concern about safety of maritime transport in Hong Kong's harbor, one of the busiest in the world.
Hong Kong residents and tourists, however, insisted they were not concerned about using ferry after the crash.
Friday morning’s crash was the second major accident in Hong Kong waters in two years. On October 1, 2012, two ferries collided, killing 39 in Hong Kong's worst maritime disaster in over 40 years. An inquiry into that incident found a “litany of errors” contributed to the accident. The two captains are awaiting trial, having been charged with 39 counts of manslaughter.
The Hong Kong-Macau ferry is key in bringing mainland Chinese tourists to Macau, the only city in China where gambling is legal.
More than 1.5 million mainland Chinese tourists poured into the city of 557,000 just last month, according to government statistics.
Some tourists, such as Liu Jia, said he would still choose to go to Macau by ferry because there were not many alternatives.
“If there are better and safer ways to go [to Macau], I would consider it. But before [I find such an option], I would still choose it,” Liu said.
Hong Kong resident Sam Yau also said he would continue to take ferries.
“These are just accidents. I don't think there's a problem at all. It doesn't affect my confidence in taking ferries,” Yau said.
The injured were sent to five hospitals.
Seven people were admitted to Queen Mary Hospital, with at least one person in serious condition.
Some information in this report was contributed by Reuters.