David Macfarlane said it was "like a bad dream" as the passenger ferry he was travelling on with his wife Ligaya and children Kyle, nine, and Ruaridh, three, collided with another boat, leaving 38 people dead.
The 41-year-old, originally from Bearsden, said he was horrified as water started pouring into the ferry and people began to scream as they struggled to put life- jackets on. He and his wife grabbed their children and tried to reassure them everything was going to be alright, but did not know for sure themselves until they eventually reached the safety of the pier.
Mr Macfarlane said: "You just don't ever imagine something like this is going to happen to you. I'm just thanking my lucky stars I'm still here and my family are okay. I just keep giving them big hugs."
The magazine editor, who moved to Hong Kong 11 years ago, said the family had been on a bank holiday weekend camping trip and were making their way home to Lamma Island when the tragedy struck. They got on the Hong Kong and Kowloon ferry at around 8pm and around 20 minutes later there was a "huge crash" with the pleasure cruiser.
Mr Macfarlane said: "Everyone was thrown from their seats and the people at the front were thrown into the windows and then there was just absolute pandemonium.
"I was on the bottom deck with my family and the ceiling started to come in and water started to get through from the floor. Everyone was screaming, it all happened so fast. My youngest son ended up on the floor and my wife had to pick him up and I grabbed the nine-year-old and put my arms around him and said 'it's going to be alright'."
Mr Macfarlane tried to get lifejackets on his children but struggled to get them out from underneath their seats and put them on. He claimed other passengers also struggled and the crew offered no assistance. He said: "The crew were not very helpful to say the least. They didn't give us any help or tell us what to do or where to go and this was making people panic and scream even more."
He said the ferry spun round a few times after the collision and it was only when it finally steadied he realised they were not far from the shore. The vessel continued on towards the pier and around five minutes later they had reached safety. However, the emergency services did not turn up until 15 minutes later.
Mr MacFarlane was completely unaware of the horror unfolding on the other boat and only found out what had happened when he was back on dry land.
The passengers on the MacFarlanes' ferry all survived, with some receiving minor injuries. However, 38 people from the smaller boat, owned by Hong Kong Electric, died after it upended and its 120 passengers were thrown into the water.
Seven crew members – including the captains of both boats – have been arrested on suspicion of endangering the safety of others at sea.
Mr Macfarlane added: "There have been some reports that visibility was poor and the sea was choppy, but it was a full moon and a very clear night. There was absolutely no excuse for what happened. They've arrested people from each boat. I don't know who's to blame."
However, he added that the captain of the ferry he was on – who has been criticised for returning to the pier and leaving the passengers of the other vessel in the water – made the right decision. He said: "If our ferry had stopped to try to help these poor people in the sea when we were already taking on water, we could have ended up with double the fatalities."