If Choi Kin-hung had performed his award-winning feat in his smart ambulance officer's uniform, it would have made a perfect episode for a television series on paramedics. But Mr Choi, 44, a senior medic with the Castle Peak Bay Ambulance Depot, was off-duty when he saved the life of a mainland backpacker who suffered a heart attack in a country area. Yesterday, Mr Choi was commended for his valour and professionalism in a ceremony at the Fire Services Department's Tsim Sha Tsui headquarters. The drama started with a hike to Pak King Au, east of Lantau Peak on March 1, to search for precious herbs and orchids. Arriving at the peak - a popular spot for hikers and aircraft-spotters - Mr Choi found four women crying. Their friend, a mainland man from Huizhou in Guangdong province, had suffered a heart attack. He had also dropped his bottle of heart medication down a steep cliff, from where it disappeared into lush undergrowth far below. 'I decided to trek down the cliff to find the bottle of pills for the man, because from what I could judge from the man's condition, time was running out and he could have fallen into a coma and would lose his life within 20 minutes,' the ambulanceman said. The 30-metre cliff was not too daunting for Mr Choi. 'I was brought up in Tai Po, in country areas in the New Territories. Trekking down steep places did not pose too much of a difficulty.' He quickly found the bottle of pills, climbed back up the cliff and speedily gave the man two pills. The mainlander regained full consciousness but refused Mr Choi's offer to call for an emergency service. The man seemed capable of walking on his own, but Mr Choi knew the inherent danger of allowing him to descend the zigzag hill trail with a weakened heart. So he carried the man on his back. The man later sent a commendation letter to the Fire Services Department. 'This is the most memorable rescue experience in all my 24 years of service,' Mr Choi said.