Travel news and advice

Hong Kong tourist who died in Philippine snorkelling accident also frequented city’s outlying islands

Local authorities will continue to liaise closely with the family of Young Tai-hang, 54, to follow up on the incident

PUBLISHED : Monday, 19 February, 2018, 7:03pm
UPDATED : Wednesday, 21 February, 2018, 3:01pm

The Hong Kong tourist who died last Saturday in a snorkelling accident in the Philippines was an avid traveller and photographer who enjoyed visiting outlying islands with his wife.

Hong Kong’s Immigration Department confirmed on Sunday that the 54-year-old man, Young Tai-hang, died on Apo Island, a popular diving destination, after being hit by the propeller of a passing boat.

Philippine media said Young was some 100 metres off the island at its turtle area in Negros Oriental in central Philippines, when the accident happened. 

Hong Kong tourist dies after being hit by boat at Philippine dive spot

Young was snorkelling at about 10.15am when the vessel, the MBCA MILES II, docked at the island to unload passengers from the town of Dauin.

Young rose to the surface but apparently did not notice the approaching boat.

He was struck by the vessel’s propeller and suffered a severe head injury. He was rushed to hospital but declared dead on arrival. 

Young and his wife, F. K. Lee, were earlier on a motorboat before he jumped into the water for a swim. His wife remained on the boat with two other Hong Kong residents. She was photographing her husband emerging from the dive when the incident happened. 

Boat captain Juvy Baat, 28, was detained and charged with “reckless imprudence resulting to homicide”. He is expected to appear in court on Monday.

Baat reportedly said he was aware that someone was in the area, but did not think that the tourist would come up to the surface as he was passing. The boat has been barred from taking to the waters again.

A Facebook page, believed to be Young’s, showed photographs of him exploring rural spots in Hong Kong with his wife, armed with their cameras in 2014.  

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They appeared to be fans of outlying islands in particular, having visited places like Mui Wo and Peng Chau. 

The page also showed pictures of him with cats he owned, as well as other photographs of dogs. 

A source said grieving relatives had travelled to the Philippines but had not decided on when to bring the body back to Hong Kong. Young had a son, according to the source.

On Sunday, the Immigration Department said it would continue to liaise closely with Young’s family and relevant authorities to follow up on the incident.

Alice Chan Cheung Lok-yee, executive director of the Travel Industry Council of Hong Kong, said Young bought a package with his wife from travel agency Xpert Holidays. They left the city last Thursday and were due to return on Monday. 

She said the pair had also bought travel insurance. 

Apo Island is a popular dive spot about 30km south of Dumaguete City, capital of Negros Oriental.