10-metre tree falls in Yau Ma Tei two days after woman killed by falling tree

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 17 August, 2014, 6:16am
UPDATED : Sunday, 17 August, 2014, 2:43pm

A 10-metre-tall tree crashed down on the basketball court of a prestigious secondary school in Yau Ma Tei yesterday, just two days after the collapse of a tree in Mid-Levels killed a heavily pregnant woman.

No one was hurt in the incident at Wah Yan College, Kowloon - unlike in the first case, which resulted in the death of mother-to-be Zhang Qin, 37, and forced the delivery of her baby at 38 weeks' gestation by emergency caesarean section.

The newborn was still fighting for his life last night at Queen Mary Hospital in Pok Fu Lam. "The boy's condition remains critical," a hospital spokeswoman said.

At the time of his birth on Thursday, the baby's heart and breathing had stopped. He was revived after doctors performed emergency cardiopulmonary resuscitation. "He is now kept inside an oxygen box at the neonatal intensive care unit," the spokeswoman said.

The tree that fell at about 5pm yesterday at the college, on Waterloon Road in Kowloon, destroyed the wire netting of a basketball court. Firefighters were called in to clear the site.

Another tree incident occurred on Ventris Road in Happy Valley.

A passerby reported that a huge tree by the roadside appeared about to fall, and firefighters were summoned at about2pm to remove a few branches.

At least four people have been killed by toppled trees in Hong Kong over the past decade.

Concerns about public safety were revived following the tragedy that befell Zhang as she waited for a minibus on Robinson Road outside the residential block Palm Court.

The Indian rubber tree that crushed her was found to be suffering from the infectious brown root rot disease, dubbed "tree cancer".

Chinese University professor and fungus specialist Chiu Siu-wai has called for mandatory inspections of trees growing within private areas.

He said the Mid-Levels tree had been attacked by fungi for at least five years and questioned how this could have been missed by inspectors.