A mainland woman who told relatives she was going to kill herself was rescued yesterday after apparently floating in Victoria Harbour for eight hours.
The woman, 28, was first spotted by a passer-by in the water near the Star Ferry Pier in Tsim Sha Tsui at around 9pm on Friday.
Rescuers from the Marine Police, Marine Department, Fire Services Department and Government Flying Service were called in, sending vessels and helicopters in an unsuccessful all-night search for her.
She was discovered by the crew of a guide tanker in the water off the No9 Pier in Central at 5.30am yesterday, apparently after floating across Victoria Harbour. After being pulled from the water onto the tanker, she was taken to Queen Elizabeth Hospital.
Doctors said the woman, a two-way-permit holder, was in serious condition.
The woman had told her family in a text message that she wanted to commit suicide, and they lost contact with her on Thursday night. They reported her as missing to police in Wan Chai on Friday afternoon.
Police said there was no suspicion anyone had committed a crime.
Dr Choi Kin, a former president of the Hong Kong Medical Council, said the woman must have known how to swim and decided not to end her life at the last moment.
"A person would definitely drown if she did not know how to swim," he said. "It would be difficult to drown if she knows how to swim. The body would naturally react and float.
"I think that she could not put up with the pain of drowning and did not want to die."