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Hong Kong weather

Student, 18, dies after being struck by lightning while hiking in Hong Kong

Ian Lo Go-yin had recently completed his final year at South Island School in Aberdeen, and was with a group of friends in Ma On Shan Country Park when the freak accident happened

PUBLISHED : Monday, 02 July, 2018, 1:02pm
UPDATED : Tuesday, 03 July, 2018, 10:35am

An 18-year-old Hong Kong man died on Monday after being struck by lightning while hiking in Ma On Shan Country Park.

Ian Lo Go-yin had recently completed his final year at South Island School, an English Schools Foundation (ESF) institution located in Aberdeen. The Post understands his father works for the city’s government.

Police said Lo was in a group of six, and a woman from the group, also 18, called the force at about 12.45pm, soon after the freak accident. The group had set off at about 10am on Monday, a public holiday, for their hike.

Hong Kong's weather is getting hotter and more extreme

The Hong Kong Observatory issued a thunderstorm warning at 10.48am, followed by an amber rainstorm warning at 12.15pm – which means there can be prolonged rainfall of up to 30mm per hour in the city. It cautioned there could be floods in low-lying areas, and warned city residents not to stand on high ground, and to keep away from conductive objects, trees or masts.

It cancelled the rainstorm warning at 1.15pm and the thunderstorm warning at 4.15pm.

This is a tragic accident and our thoughts are very much with Ian’s friends and family at this incredibly difficult time
ESF education director Adam Hughes

Police said Lo was struck as the group walked along Stage 4 of the MacLehose Trail. Rescue personnel went to the site after the emergency call, and took him by helicopter to Pamela Youde Nethersole Eastern Hospital, in Chai Wan.

A spokesman for the Government Flying Service said its crew – which included a doctor and nurses – found him unconscious and without a pulse when it arrived on the scene.

A doctor was seen trying to resuscitate Lo as he was taken into the emergency ward on a stretcher.

He was declared dead at about 2.15pm, according to the Hospital Authority.

Lo was a baseball star in high school. In an interview with the Young Post two years ago, he shared his tips and thoughts on playing baseball. Lo was part of the Hong Kong team and also participated in international and regional tournaments, including the 2015 Little League Asia Pacific Tournament.

On Monday evening, ESF education director Adam Hughes said: “This is a tragic accident and our thoughts are very much with Ian’s friends and family at this incredibly difficult time.

“We will offer any support that is needed, now and in the weeks ahead.”

Observatory scientific officer Ng Yin-lam said there were 568 lightning strikes over the eastern New Territories, where Ma On Shan is, between noon and 1pm. That number ranked 21st among the city's hourly records for July.

Hong Kong Medical Association vice-president Dr Alvin Chan Yee-shing said anyone hit by lightning is very likely to die, as the “electric current would be more than a human being can stand”.

Chan said the current would be stronger if the ground underfoot was wet.

In April 2016, a 42-year-old man survived after he was struck by lightning while hiking on the Pak Tam Chung section of the MacLehose Trail in Sai Kung.

He was taken to hospital with injuries to his neck, chest and leg. When he regained consciousness he said the hearing on his right side was affected.

But he doubted it had been a direct hit. Recalling his narrow escape, he said: “I vaguely knew that the ambulance was called. I was not struck exactly, but it was close. It came through my body.”

Between 6mm and 15mm of rain was recorded in Kwai Tsing from 10.45am to 11.45am, the Observatory said. From 3mm to 11mm was recorded in Sham Shui Po during the same hour.

There were no reports of landslips or flooding as of 5pm on Monday but 13 trees fell over, a government spokesman said.

The red flag was raised at Silverstrand Beach, Clear Water Bay First Beach and Clear Water Bay Second Beach in Sai Kung, meaning people should not go in the water due to the inclement weather. That was also the case at Pui O Beach, Hung Shing Yeh Beach and Lo So Shing Beach.