"My niece called me last evening and said she believed my sister was on the boat so we should do something right away, we should go find them," he said.
They went from hospital to hospital, to the pier and to nearby yacht club. On Tuesday he was at the morgue, which he said would be the best place to get information.
Victor Li, deputy head of the company that owns Power Assets, was reported by Hong Kong media saying the firm would provide emergency payments of 200,000 Hong Kong dollars ($25,793) to the family of each person killed.
Social media sites lit up with discussion of the tragedy and condolences for the victims and their families. Cellphone footage of the partly submerged boat was posted to YouTube.
Lamma is the third-biggest island in Hong Kong and near one of the coastal Chinese city's busiest shipping lanes. The island is home to about 6,000 people, including many of the former British colony's expatriate workers.
The tragedy is a test for the new administration of Hong Kong's Beijing-installed chief executive, Leung Chun-ying. His July inauguration was greeted by protests, and opposition by students and their parents against the proposed teaching of China-influenced patriotic history forced his government to back off the plan last month.
After the collision, Leung rushed to the pier where rescue work was taking place.
"All of Hong Kong's emergency forces are focused here," Leung said. "Wide-ranging rescue work is being carried out on in the sea, land and in the air."
Leung said he didn't know what caused the collision but promised a thorough investigation.
Follow Kelvin Chan at twitter.com/chanman
- Rupert Murdoch vows Fox News without Ailes is...
- Trump's closer is over, Clinton set to snag...
- Ex-KKK leader David Duke says he plans to run...
- Police give all-clear in Munich shooting; say...
- Obama rejects Trump depiction of US in crisis
- Warriors' Draymond Green settles assault case...
- Ex-KKK leader David Duke runs for Senate: 'My...
- AP source: Clinton's choice for VP to be...
- Sarah Silverman: Bernie-or-bust Dems... 49
- Obama rejects Trump depiction of US in... 41
- Police give all-clear in Munich... 32
- After turmoil, Sanders, Michelle Obama,... 30
- Dems' division, emails roil party on... 28
- Watch live at the Democratic National... 25
- In wake of email hack, Democratic chair... 23
- Hillary Clinton selects running mate... 19