Hong Kong hiker collapses and dies while tackling ‘treacherous’ Sharp Peak

Signs along the trail warn people of hazards, but department website extols the ‘handsome’ views to be enjoyed from the top

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 27 November, 2016, 4:08pm
UPDATED : Sunday, 27 November, 2016, 11:05pm

A 60-year-old man collapsed and died on a trail in Sai Kung that is so dangerous there are signs along the way warning hikers not to proceed.

The man, surnamed Chan, set out from Chek Keng village for the 468-metre Sharp Peak at noon on Sunday in a group of around 13 and fainted about an hour later.

His friends called police and the Government Flying Service (GFS) was mobilised. Rescuers including a doctor and a nurse arrived at the scene half an hour later.

A GFS spokesman said: “As we were ready to dispatch our team, we were told that he was not breathing and his heart was not beating.”

Another hiker conducted cardiopulmonary resuscitation on Chan as they waited for help. He was loaded onto a helicopter at 1.23pm and six minutes later arrived at Pamela Youde Nethersole Eastern Hospital in Chai Wan, where he was later certified dead.

Sharp Peak is popular among hikers despite the difficult two-hour trek to the top because it offers a breathtaking panorama of the four bays of Tai Long Wan.

But the trail is steep and a large part of it is not paved. Hikers – often wearing gloves – have to scramble to the summit using their hands.

The Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation Department has posted signs along the route reading: “The trail leading to Sharp Peak is very treacherous and difficult. For safety reasons, you are advised not to proceed.”

On its website the department describes the trail as “undoubtedly strenuous”, but then says “the great sense of achievement and spectacular vistas make it all worth while” and “your labour up Sharp Peak is handsomely rewarded”.

Police said an autopsy would be conducted to establish the cause of death.

An AFCD spokesman said: “The website aims to provide an overview of the scenery in country parks. Sharp Peak is introduced as it is a well-known scenic place in Sai Kung. We will explore ways to enable people to make a accurate assessment of the site conditions.”

Asked if the department would consider paving the trail, he replied: “While we will explore possible improvements to the trail network around Sharp Peak, a paved path leading to the top might not be feasible due to the difficult topography and the potential impact on the natural landscape.”