By Tyrone Siu

When the National Day fireworks ended in enthusiastic applause, most photographers – especially those who were functioning on an empty stomach like me – thought we could finally call it a night. After all, we had witnessed all the hustle and bustle since early in the day at the flag-raising ceremony. It was, we thought, perhaps enough sensation for a single day.

I was about to enjoy a nice hotpot dinner with other battered journalists after filing my fireworks pictures, when a reporter on site mentioned a brief report online that ruined the plan.

It said that two ferries had collided off Hong Kong’s Lamma Island but did not mention any injuries, but a hunch told me it could turn out to be a particularly nasty disaster. A minute later, I was carrying my clumsy tripod to evade the happy festival-goers and run past the police’s quarantine line to search for a taxi.

SLIDESHOW: DEADLY FERRY COLLISION

My watch told me half an hour had passed since the crush when the taxi was driving at full speed – heading to somewhere that I needed to decide soon. I told myself the decision had to be made promptly and I knew a wrong judgment call would cost me the opportunity to record the incident.

In a frenzy, I made a dozen calls to try to figure out the number of injuries, where the passengers were taken to be treated, the location of the collision site and what damage there was to the ferries, praying that the information could led me to the best vantage point.