Hong Kong frost chasers stranded on Tai Mo Shan: fire department responds to calls for help, trucks blocked by traffic jam

Hongkongers seeking a frosty experience find themselves stranded, needing emergency assistance from firefighters and ambulance services. Traffic jam in the Tai Mo Shan car park block emergency vehicles from reaching the top

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 24 January, 2016, 12:03pm
UPDATED : Sunday, 24 January, 2016, 3:29pm

Dozens of frost chasers became stranded on the road down from Hong Kong’s tallest peak after blistering wind and rain had made road conditions too slippery to walk, hampering rescue efforts.

Firefighters had received around 20 calls for help this morning by 9am from Tai Mo Shan peak as crowds hoping to catch sight of rare frost in subzero conditions had clambered up steep slopes in the early morning and found themselves struggling in the freezing conditions.

One sightseer was reported in critical condition, according to firefighters at the scene.

At least four ambulances and three fire trucks were blocked from reaching the top as cars were all jam packed in the parking lot by 9:30am.

“Everything was frozen up there, even the roads,” said Danny Yip, a 23-year-old university student who had hiked up to 957m peak.

It took Yip and three of his other friends four hours to hike to the top where it was a freezing -4 degrees at around 4am.

-1.4 C #ice #icedrip #hk #park #taimoshan

A photo posted by Joe Yuen (@jyuenh) on Jan 23, 2016 at 3:53am PST

Runners participating in a 100km race since Saturday also struggled to finish the last parts of the Maclehose Trail in the New Territories that crossed paths with eager “frost chasers”.

“It’s too cold. Even if I wore more clothes it would still be unbearable,” said a runner, shivering in a thin windbreaker, who only wanted to be identified by his surname Cheng.

Cheng said that the organisers had warned them of subzero temperatures, but he had not really come prepared enough.

A steady stream of people, mostly youngsters bundled up in thick, ice-covered parkas, slid and slipped down slopes, even two ambulance personnel had to turn back after icy roads up to the peak proved too difficult to cross.

“There were a lot of winding roads, it was like going down a slide,” Brian Kwok Chun-hey, a university student.

“It’s really an unforgettable experience, I don’t think I’ll ever come back up again in such conditions,” said Ma Wing-sin, whose wet ponytail was frozen with ice crystals. “But we’re young, it’s when you should create memories.”