Trainee doctor dives into Hong Kong harbour to help save man

Early morning drama at ferry piers after quick-thinking graduate hears splash and sees body floating in water

PUBLISHED : Monday, 24 July, 2017, 8:08pm
UPDATED : Monday, 24 July, 2017, 10:55pm

Alex Wong Kin-chung has always wanted to save lives as a doctor but he never thought his skills would be put to the test at sea.

That changed in the early hours of Sunday when Wong, a resident at Prince of Wales Hospital, arrived back at the Central ferry piers from a day out with friends in Cheung Chau.

“I heard the sound of something falling into the water and looked over and saw a body in the water with the back facing up,” he said.

With time of the essence, Wong, 24, had to make a quick decision even though he had no experience in saving someone from drowning.

So he dived into the harbour knowing that the man in distress had taken on a lot of water and could go under at any time.

“He was unconscious and his face was blue,” Wong said.

While staying afloat, he forced a lot of water from the lungs of the 28-year-old man and put him in a flotation device.

A police officer, who also helped in the rescue, arrived within three minutes.

Police confirmed that they ­received a call at 12.20am on Sunday from a 26-year-old woman, surnamed Suen, about a man, Cheng, falling into the sea.

The man was conscious when he was admitted to Queen Mary Hospital at Pok Fu Lam, where his condition was described as stable.

Police said the man had a ­history of mental illness and initial investigations showed no suspicious circumstances.

Despite receiving some minor scratches to his left knee, Wong, who graduated from the University of Hong Kong and SKH Tang Shiu Kin Secondary School, said he felt “satisfied” after saving the man.

“I am still in my first year of being a resident and am still learning and do not have much experience,” he said. However, he cherished the thought of having helped save a life and his actions had confirmed his need to ­become a doctor.

It was not the first time for Wong to help treat members of the public in difficulty.

He recalled volunteering at first aid stations during protests organised by the Occupy civil ­disobedience movement three years ago.

During that time, he helped protesters suffering the effects of being pepper sprayed by police.

Currently he is undergoing graduate medical training in ­paediatric surgery and urology at the Sha Tin hospital.

Wong said he had always loved children, but would like to try out different specialisations before deciding on one.

Having acted fast on Sunday, he is also particularly interested in helping patients with quickly ­developing and life-threatening medical conditions, such as stomach perforations.