Hong Kong’s iconic landmark Jumbo Floating Restaurant has capsized in the South China Sea, days after Hong Kongers bid farewell to the popular tourist attraction.
Aberdeen Restaurant Enterprises, the parent company of Jumbo Kingdom, announced on Monday that the three-story-high restaurant faced “adverse conditions” on Saturday as it was passing the Xisha Islands, also known as the Paracel Islands.
The restaurant reportedly started tipping after water found its way inside the ship. Nobody was injured during the incident, but all attempts to salvage the vessel fell through.
“As the water depth at the scene is over 1,000 meters, [it makes it] extremely difficult to carry out salvage works,” Aberdeen Restaurant Enterprises said in a statement.
“The company is now getting further details of the accident from the towing company,” it added.
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Before being towed, Aberdeen Restaurant Enterprises said it had hired marine engineers to give the restaurant a thorough inspection and install hoardings before its departure. The ship also received “relevant approvals” before leaving the harbor last week.
Several Hong Kongers pleaded for help to keep the iconic restaurant afloat. The effort came after outgoing Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor said in a statement in late May that the local government had no intention of investing in Jumbo Floating Restaurant.
“Jumbo Floating Restaurant era is over. The classic symbol of Hong Kong sailed away because this beautiful white elephant couldn’t survive through [the] COVID pandemic,” one Instagram user wrote.
Founded by the late Macau casino tycoon Stanley Ho Hung-sun in 1976, the restaurant became one of the most recognizable establishments in Aberdeen Harbor. The Jumbo Floating Restaurant has reportedly served over 30 million customers since its opening day, including Gong Li, Tom Cruise, Chow Yun-fat and Queen Elizabeth II.
The restaurant closed its doors at the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020 and has stayed closed since then.