Hiker dies after falling down cliff on Hong Kong’s Lantau Island
Accident happened as weather deteriorated over the city
A man has died after falling down a cliff while hiking on Lantau, police said.
A search and rescue operation was launched by the police and the Government Flying Service at noon on Monday after it received a report that a man had fallen down a cliff along a rough trail in the Ngong Ping area.
Rescue teams and police eventually found the 59-year-old hiker surnamed Chan, who was unconscious and had sustained multiple injuries. A helicopter sent to airlift the man to hospital encountered challenging weather conditions.The man was certified dead at the scene.
Watch: hikers near the scene
Conditions around Hong Kong deteriorated at lunchtime, but it is unclear if the rain or other weather conditions were a factor in the hiker’s fall.
Police confirmed they received a “request for assistance” around noon time. They added: “A man reported to police that he saw another man fall down from a remote location called Fung Yu Pik. Later on a man was found unconscious and subsequently certified dead.”
Police said there were no suspicious circumstances and that the hiker had fallen from a height of 60 metres.
According to local media, Chan, who was an electrical and mechanical technician, was an extrovert and enjoyed outdoor activities.
Reports, citing his relatives and friends, added that he used to go hiking with his son, but in recent years, started to trek with friends he met online as his son did not really enjoy hiking.
The reports added that Chan, who turned 59 on the second day of the Lunar New Year, was hiking with friends when the accident happened.
He is survived by his wife and son, who turned 19 on the day of the tragedy, according to local media.
Experienced hiker Steve Pheby, who runs the amateur group, Hong Kong Hikers, said some of the trails on Lantau which were off the main hiking routes were “treacherous”.
Pheby said he cancelled a hike planned for Kowloon Peak on Monday due to heavy rain, saying hiking on rock surfaces was extremely slippery and tricky.
“For anyone going out hiking, you have to consider the time of year. If you are planning anything treacherous and it’s been raining you should think again.
“Be aware of your surroundings and have the right equipment. Just having a normal pair of running shoes is not good enough. They don’t have the grip and are not made for that terrain.
“If you are hiking on your own it is not recommended going off the main trail ... Let people know where you’re going,” Pheby added.
With hiking becoming more popular, the number of mountain search and rescue cases has more than doubled, rising from 138 in 2005 to 340 in 2015, according to figures from the Fire Services Department, which conducts search and rescue missions on hiking trails.
Calls to the Civil Aid Service, which also carries out rescues, have doubled to 133 over the same 10-year period.
Additional reporting by Peace Chiu