Helicopter rescues hiker after 10-metre plunge into stream

PUBLISHED : Monday, 26 June, 2006, 12:00am
UPDATED : Monday, 26 June, 2006, 12:00am

Popular trekking spot has seen several serious accidents in recent years

A hiker was airlifted to hospital yesterday in critical condition after falling 10 metres down a slope into a stream at a popular hiking spot near Sha Tau Kok where two other serious accidents have occurred in recent years. The 54-year-old man was hiking with seven others near Nam Chung and Luk Keng in Pat Sin Leng Country Park when he fell.

Police and firefighters set up a temporary control centre at Nam Chung village to co-ordinate the rescue after receiving a call for help at about 2.20pm.

The Government Flying Service located the hiker, who suffered head and neck injuries, shortly after 3pm and flew him to Pamela Youde Nethersole Eastern Hospital at about 4.15pm. His condition had improved to stable late last night.

Yesterday's accident was the third at the site in six years. In October 2000 a 16-year-old boy drowned at the pool and in September 2002 a 23-year-old man was critically injured when he lost his step and fell 12 metres into a pool.

Sha Tau Kok divisional station sergeant Siu Ting-chung said the site of the accident was not a trekking trail. 'It is quite dangerous for hikers to go there. The area was very rocky. Our records show three or four accidents have happened there before. A death was also reported in the past,' he said.

One of the hikers trekking near the accident site yesterday also said there were many rocks in the area. 'Some moss has grown on the surface of some rocks after it had rained earlier this month. The moss makes the rocks very slippery. Hikers have to jump from one rock to another when they trek there,' a hiker told ATV News.

An experienced coach with the Hong Kong Mountaineering Training Centre, Liu Ka-wah, said many people preferred hiking along streams during summer, as they were shaded and cooler.

'There are trees and water running along the streams and hikers can wash their faces to cool off a bit when hiking during summer days. Also, it is more challenging than just trekking along a trail,' he said.

There were two ways of hiking along streams, he said. One was to walk on the surface of big rocks in the streams, the other to hike on the banks of the streams.

'The path could be slippery and muddy when hiking around the streams instead of walking on the surface of the rocks, especially after it has rained.'

But he said the site where the accident occurred was not too difficult for hikers.

'Having said that, since there are many big rocks and water running in there, it is more risky for hikers. The rocks can be very slippery,' he said. Mr Liu, who has about 20 years of mountaineering experience, reminded hikers to follow an experienced guide when trekking and to take plenty of water.