Elderly grave-sweeper rescued from remote hillside after falling 20m down slope

The man was rescued after an air and land search by Hong Kong Police and other rescue services

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 06 April, 2017, 7:03pm
UPDATED : Thursday, 06 April, 2017, 9:51pm

An elderly man was rescued from secluded hillside in Fanling on Thursday after he fell about 20 metres down a slope and was injured and trapped overnight.

Fong Ping-fu, 84, lost his way and fell down a hillside at about 3pm on Wednesday after he swept his ancestors’ grave and burned paper offerings in Wo Hop Shek Cemetery in Fanling.

According to police, he sustained head injuries and suffered scratches on his limbs in the fall and was unable to move because he was trapped under branches at a stream on the remote hillside.

“He called Shenzhen police for help because his mobile phone only received mainland signal and made emergency call,” a police source said.

Mainland police alerted Hong Kong authorities shortly before 4pm, but the location where Fong was trapped was unclear, the source said. Police also called his mobile phone but his line was disconnected.

An air and land search, involving a Government Flying Service helicopter, was launched after Fong failed to return his Sheung Shui home and his daughter made a missing person report to police at about 6pm.

Inspector Tsang Wai-lun of the New Territories North quick reaction force said about 150 officers from the police and fire departments and Civil Aid Service were deployed in the overnight search and rescue operation.

At about 8am on Thursday, one of the teams led by Tsang set off from a hilltop near the cemetery to search for the man.

His team found Fong being trapped under branches and lying at a stream at about 11am.

Describing the hillside as “very steep”, “slippery” and “remote”, Tsang said officers had to be careful while going down the slope.

“[Fong] was injured in the head and suffered scratches in his limbs. He was conscious and complained of being very hungry and in pain,” the inspector said.

Firefighters and paramedics scaled down the slope and Fong was put on a stretcher before being carried back to the walking trail.

He was taken to Prince of Wales Hospital in Sha Tin, where he was in stable condition in the afternoon.