Rock climber falls to his death

PUBLISHED : Monday, 31 July, 2006, 12:00am
UPDATED : Monday, 31 July, 2006, 12:00am

A middle-aged man died after falling while rock-climbing yesterday on an island off Sai Kung.

The 51-year-old was climbing rocks with three others on the North Ninepin Island when the accident happened at 2.40pm.

'The victim fell from a height of 10 metres when climbing rocks on the island,' said a police spokesperson. 'Firefighters and marine police were also called to the scene to join the rescue operation.'

The Government Flying Services took him to Eastern Hospital, where he was certified dead an hour after police got a call for help.

The rock climber suffered serious head injuries and bone fractures and was unconscious while being airlifted. A flying doctor gave him medical treatment before he arrived at the hospital.

The North Ninepin Island is one of the islands belonging to the Ninepins group, or Kwo Chau Islands, in the easternmost waters of Hong Kong.

Liu Ka-wah, an experienced coach with the Hong Kong Mountaineering Training Centre, said it was dangerous to hike or climb rocks on the island as it was not a popular spot and seeking emergency help could be difficult.

He also warned that it was quite risky to climb rocks on the island because there was a lot of debris.

'If a site is frequently visited by rock climbers, debris or pebbles will be removed by visitors to avoid accidents,' Mr Liu said.

'The island is not a developed site for rock-climbing.'

He said the spectacular rocks on the island attracted mainly visitors taking part in boat trips, especially during the summer.

'Most people sail around the group of islands to enjoy the beautiful views and stop on islands to see rocks in different formations. But they stay for only a while on the island and do not hike or climb the rocks,' he said.