Oil tanker explosion in Hong Kong kills 1 crew member

January 8, 2019
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In this photo released by Hong Kong Government Flying Service, black smoke billows from an oil tanker after catching fire off southern Lamma island of Hong Kong, Tuesday, Jan. 8, 2019. Hong Kong fire officials say an oil-tanker explosion has killed one person and left three missing at sea. Authorities said Tuesday that a Vietnam-registered oil tanker burst into flames about 11:30 a.m. as it prepared to refuel at an anchorage off Hong Kong's southern coast. (Hong Kong Government Flying Service via AP)

HONG KONG (AP) — An explosion on an oil tanker in Hong Kong on Tuesday killed one crew member and left two others missing at sea, authorities said.

The Vietnam-registered tanker burst into flames just before 11:30 a.m. as it prepared to refuel at an anchorage off the city’s southern coast, said Yiu Men-Yeung, commander of the Hong Kong Fire Department marine and diving division.

The force of the blast left the 140-meter (460-foot) -long tanker at a 30-degree angle and threw its 25-member crew into the water, Wong Wai-hong, a Hong Kong Police deputy commander, said at a news conference. The refueling barge was destroyed.

One crew member was pronounced dead at the scene and seven others were injured. Authorities initially reported at least three crew members missing but later confirmed there were only two.

The cargo hold appeared to be the source of the blaze, fire officials said. The vessel, en route to its home port in Thailand, was largely empty.