"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
- Rubber chickens, afros and clowns: A look at...
- Why Utahns are some of the biggest spenders,...
- 35 arrested in Oakland after protest march
- Steven Powell ordered to serve more jail time...
- 10 Things to See: A week of top AP photos
- Ferguson protesters across US peaceful,...
- These two things are helping California's...
- In Britain, US turkey dinner is big for business
- As Ferguson verdict is read, protesters... 70
- Grand jury won't indict Ferguson cop in... 30
- Obama: Americans want 'new car smell'... 29
- Ferguson businesses torched in... 17
- Under pressure, Hagel steps down as... 15
- Obama immigration plan good, not great... 13
- Obama heads to Chicago to pitch... 13
- Why Utahns are some of the biggest... 12