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36 people have died in a collision between two passenger boats in Hong Kong.

The boat was carrying 121 passengers and three crew members when the accident happened near Lamma Island, off the southwestern coast of Hong Kong Island around 8 p.m. local time, the Associated Press reported.

It was hit by a ferry run by the Hong Kong and Kowloon Ferry company on a regularly scheduled service, causing the charter boat to rapidly sink, leaving half the bow sticking up from the water.

The Hong Kong Hospital Authority said that about 100 people and the bodies of several of the dead had been rescued from the water and taken to public hospitals, according to CNN.

The collision occurred during a busy period for passenger travel in Hong Kong, at the end of a long holiday weekend to mark the mid-autumn festival that this year coincides with China’s National Day on 1 October.

Power company Hong Kong Electric was reportedly using a commercial boat to take staff and family members to watch National Day fireworks in Victoria Harbour.

The vessel and another boat – reportedly operated by Hong Kong and Kowloon Ferry – collided, causing the HK Electric vessel to list, a company official was quoted as saying.

The other boat reportedly had about 100 people on board.It was slightly damaged in the crash but returned safely to port, according to Radio Television Hong Kong. A number of passengers on board were treated for minor injuries.
Hong Kong Chief Executive CY Leung promised an investigation into the accident.

Lamma lies some three kilometers (two miles) south-west of Hong Kong island, and is popular with tourists and expatriates.