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Hong Kong rescue services

Hiker dies after fall from ‘suicide cliff’ in Hong Kong country park

Woman in her 40s was airlifted to hospital after accident at Ma On Shan Country Park

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 29 November, 2017, 5:19pm
UPDATED : Wednesday, 29 November, 2017, 11:14pm

A woman died after falling from a steep slope dubbed “suicide cliff” in a Hong Kong country park on Wednesday, making it the second fatal hiking accident in the city within four days.

Lee Chuk-ching, 48, was airlifted to hospital, but was declared dead after arriving.

She was with a group of 12 people who set off for Kowloon Peak, also known as Fei Ngo Shan, from Jat’s incline in Choi Hung at about 9.30am on Wednesday. The mountain is located in Ma On Shan Country Park.

Emergency personnel, including a Government Flying Service helicopter, went to her rescue after receiving a call from one of the group members at about 1.15pm.

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Initial investigations showed the woman lost her footing and fell, a police source said.

It is understood that she tumbled more than 10 metres down the slope, with a police spokesman saying that she appeared to have suffered injuries to her head and limbs.

According to the Fire Services Department, the rescue operation took about two hours.

Four firefighters from its elite high-angle rescue team were airlifted to the top of Kowloon Peak before heading down the slope to reach the injured woman.

Another team, including a paramedic and two firemen, walked up the hill.

Attempts were made to resuscitate the woman before she was secured in a stretcher and winched on board the helicopter, a fire department spokesman said.

According to police, the woman remained unconscious while being airlifted to Pamela Youde Nethersole Eastern Hospital in Chai Wan. Doctors there declared her dead.

Police were investigating the cause of the accident, which happened after a 69-year-old hiker died on Sunday when he fell off a popular but notoriously treacherous ridge on Lantau Island.

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According to hiking experts, the rocky section of trail on Kowloon Peak dubbed “suicide cliff” is increasingly popular with hikers, who underestimate its risks.

In August, two hikers from the mainland – a 31-year-old man and a 47-year-old woman – ran into trouble and were stranded on the same cliff in the middle of a raging storm, resulting in an extensive rescue operation.

They had gone hiking after the Hong Kong Observatory issued the tropical cyclone warning signal No 1 – the lowest on the city’s alert scale – for Severe Tropical Storm Pakhar. But during the rescue mission, that increased to a No 8 signal warning as the city was blasted with heavy rain and wind speeds of up to 117km/h.

The rescue operation took more than 24 hours, with 160 firefighters, 10 ambulances and 31 fire engines deployed to bring them to safety. Four firefighters had to use their raincoats as a makeshift tent and spend a night on the cliff side to keep the hikers alive.

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Sunday’s accident occurred in Lantau South Country Park, where the man set off on a morning hike with about 15 people from Shek Pik.

The group reached Kau Nga Ling, which literally translates as “dog teeth ridges”, a name derived from the steep gradient of slopes in the area.

But while climbing up a spot dubbed “slim chance of survival” by mountaineers, he slipped and fell about 30 metres. He was certified dead at the scene.