(CNN) — An iconic Hong Kong floating restaurant has sunk, just days after it was towed out to sea en route to an unspecified destination.
The restaurant’s main boat was traveling to an undisclosed shipyard when it capsized on Saturday after meeting “adverse conditions” near the Paracel Islands (also known as the Xisha Islands) in the South China Sea, Aberdeen Restaurant Enterprises Limited said in a statement Monday.
The Jumbo Kingdom in Hong Kong, pictured in 2014.
Bruce Yan/South China Morning Post/Getty Images
The boat sank more than 1,000 meters (3,280 feet), making salvage work “extremely difficult,” the statement said.
It added that Aberdeen Restaurant Enterprises was “very saddened by this accident,” and was working to gather more details. No crew members were injured.
The news was met with consternation online, with many Twitter users bemoaning the inelegant end to one of Hong Kong’s most recognized historic icons. Some posted art depicting the restaurant underwater, while others shared farewell messages.
Others saw the sinking ship as a darkly comic metaphor for Hong Kong’s alleged fortunes, as the city — still largely shut off from the rest of the world — clings on to pandemic restrictions following several years of political turmoil.
The 260-feet long (about 80 meters) restaurant was the main boat of Jumbo Kingdom, which included an older and smaller sister restaurant boat, a barge for seafood tanks, a kitchen boat, and eight small ferries to transport visitors from nearby piers.
It was famous for its lavish Imperial-style façade, plentiful neon lights, massive commissioned paintings in the stairwell and its colorful Chinese-style motifs — including a golden throne in the dining hall.
But as the fishing population in the island’s southern harbor dwindled, the restaurant group became less popular, and had been suffering a deficit since 2013. The Covid-19 pandemic dealt the final blow, with the restaurant closed until further notice in 2020.
Maggie Hiufu Wong contributed reporting.