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'Fat Duck' chefs die in Hong Kong horror crash

By Elizabeth Yuan, CNN
updated 1:36 PM EST, Wed November 21, 2012
Heston Blumenthal's Fat Duck restaurant, in Bray, England, has garnered three Michelin stars.
Heston Blumenthal's Fat Duck restaurant, in Bray, England, has garnered three Michelin stars.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • NEW: The Fat Duck releases statement on deaths of two chefs
  • They and their driver die in collision, and 56 people are hurt, police say
  • Driver of bus released on bail after arrest for dangerous driving that results in death
  • Bus collided into car, ramming it against another bus

Hong Kong (CNN) -- An investigation is under way into a horrific collision in Hong Kong that resulted in the deaths of two visiting chefs from Heston Blumenthal's famous British restaurant, The Fat Duck.

Lotus PR, which represents The Fat Duck, identified the two chefs as Jorge Ivan Arango Herrera, known as Jorge, and Carl Magnus Lindgren, who went by Magnus.

"They were both senior members and great and dear friends," according to a statement by The Fat Duck. "Two uniquely talented young chefs that were loved by everyone who worked with them. They will be sadly and deeply missed."

The purpose of the trip to Hong Kong was for a private event, according to Lotus PR.

Also killed was the chefs' taxi driver.

Blumenthal, who was also in Hong Kong, identified the bodies of the two chefs, according to a local newspaper, The Standard, which featured a photograph of him with police on Wednesday.

According to the Hong Kong Police Force, the accident occurred Monday morning when a bus was traveling downhill and hit two cars, crossed into the other lane and crushed the chefs' taxi against another bus.

In addition to the three deaths, 56 people were injured, including the driver of the other bus, a baby and a 90-year old, according to police.

The driver of the first bus was arrested for dangerous driving that resulted in death and was released after posting HK $5,000 (US$645) bail, according to a police spokesman.

Today we have a heavy heart... Thoughts and prayers go out to the entire team of The Fat Duck & their families on this most difficult day.
The French Laundry

The operations head of the bus company, New World First Bus, cited security video recordings as showing its driver fainted and that the bus went out of control for more than 10 seconds, according to South China Morning Post.

The paper said the driver joined the company in 1998, had a good driving record with a few minor accidents and passed his medical check in July.

The Mandarin Oriental Hong Kong confirmed that the two chefs were guests of the hotel.

"We are deeply saddened by this tragic event and our hearts and prayers are with their families and loved ones," said Nina Colls, the hotel's communications director, in a statement.

A menu by Blumenthal, whose restaurant has been awarded three Michelin stars, with recipes that date from the 16th century has been offered at the Mandarin Oriental in London's Hyde Park.

In an interview with a Hong Kong culinary magazine, Crave, Blumenthal expressed his desire to open a Fat Duck at the Mandarin Oriental Hong Kong.

The news of the accident was greeted by sadness in the culinary world.

The French Laundry, owned by chef Thomas Keller in California, tweeted: "Today we have a heavy heart... Thoughts and prayers go out to the entire team of The Fat Duck & their families on this most difficult day."

Raymond Blanc, who owns Le Manoir aix Quat'Saisons in Oxford, England, tweeted, "My heart and my thoughts are with the families of the 2 young chefs from the Fat Duck & with Heston & the whole team at this tragic time."

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