Hero recalls futile rescue attempt

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 20 March, 2004, 12:00am
UPDATED : Saturday, 20 March, 2004, 12:00am

Leung Ka-wing was chatting with four friends by the sea one evening when a woman next to them downed several cans of beer, counted to three and jumped into the water below with a shrill cry.

'It was about 9.15pm when the woman suddenly shouted 'one, two, three', and then jumped into the sea,' the 23-year-old recalls.

While they waited for the police to arrive, the woman was floating face-down in the water.

'A large crowd had gathered but no one was doing anything. So I gave my wallet and mobile phone to my friends, and jumped in.'

The woman was already unconscious when he reached her.

Although Mr Leung failed to save the woman - she was confirmed dead upon arrival at hospital - his selfless act was commended by the acting Director of Marine Roger Tupper yesterday, along with 27 other people who had risked their lives to rescue others in Hong Kong waters last year.

'Without the bravery and public-spiritedness of people like our heroes here today, lives would have been lost and families bereaved in the past 12 months,' Mr Tupper said, before presenting them with certificates and plaques.

The ceremony was held in the Marine Department's offices in Central.

Anna Chum Muk-kiu, 55, said: 'I am proud of my husband for being so brave.'

She said her husband, Chow Kam-shing, a sailor who rescued a man from the waters off Kwun Tong Ferry Pier in January last year, knew the sea well. 'We were fishing people in Aberdeen and lived on the water until 1980,' she said.

But while most congratulated one another in the main reception area, Mr Leung sat on alone in another room. He feels fine but memories of the dying woman still haunt him, he says.