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Hong Kong rescue services

Search for missing Hong Kong paraglider continues into fifth day as rescuers hope for better weather

Heavy cloud cover and low visibility make certain areas almost impossible to scan thoroughly

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 26 July, 2018, 12:33pm
UPDATED : Thursday, 26 July, 2018, 1:03pm

The search for a missing Hong Kong paraglider entered its fifth day on Thursday, with rescuers hoping the poor visibility and heavy cloud conditions that had hindered their previous efforts would improve.

Patrick Chung Yuk-wa, 44, is believed to have been blown off course from Sunset Peak, also known as Tai Tung Shan, in Lantau South Country Park on Sunday afternoon.

Flying a blue, purple and yellow paraglider, he had taken off from the spot with a group of 10 other pilots. He may have also deployed a bright orange reserve parachute.

The Hong Kong Paragliding Association, which has been assisting the authorities in the search, said unfavourable weather, including heavy cloud cover on top of the ridges, had made it almost impossible for certain areas to be scanned thoroughly, especially from the air.

“Our hope is that the cloud base will lift today allowing helicopter access to the higher areas,” the association said.

“Ground crews on foot have been hampered by variable visibility, in some cases as low as five metres. The height and density of the vegetation and steep terrain combined with the low visibility means some areas have not been effectively searched.”

A thunderstorm warning was in place from 5.30am to 9.30am on Thursday morning. The Hong Kong Observatory predicted sunny periods and a few showers throughout the day.

Hong Kong paraglider blown off course over Lantau Island

Rescuers from the fire service kicked off Thursday’s rescue efforts at dawn along the Chi Ma Wan Country Trail on southeastern Lantau Island, while marine police were deployed at Nim Shue Wan and Discovery Bay, a government spokesman said.

Frogmen, drone operators and government helicopters had ceased most operations at about 10.30pm the previous night after scouring Pui O village and beach.

Members of the public were again asked to refrain from flying drones in the Lantau area as the government helicopter would be “required to return to base if privately operated airborne drones are spotted”.

The association had said on Wednesday that Chung’s mobile phone appeared to have finally run of out of battery as no further signals were being received.