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Accidents and personal safety in Hong Kong

Body of missing Hong Kong paraglider pilot found near spot where he had taken off

Patrick Chung’s body was found around noon in Lantau Sunset Peak area

PUBLISHED : Friday, 27 July, 2018, 1:46pm
UPDATED : Friday, 27 July, 2018, 11:41pm

Hong Kong rescue services on Friday found the body of paraglider pilot Patrick Chung Yuk-wa after a six-day search, hampered by poor weather.

The 44-year-old was found at 11.47am in the Lantau Sunset Peak area, about 1km northeast of where he had taken off on Sunday afternoon.

The body was airlifted to Pamela Youde Nethersole Eastern Hospital, where police said Chung was officially declared dead at 2.31pm. The airlift to hospital was necessary as there were no medical personnel at the spot where Chung was found, a government source said.

Chung’s helmet was cracked and his right leg was fractured, the source said, adding that the cause of death was not known and the authorities would have to wait for medical reports.

He said an autopsy might be carried out but there were no suspicious circumstances.

The paraglider was hanging on rocks while the pilot was further down a steep slope.

“The person was located on a steep slope and close to cloud base, making our operation difficult. We then deployed fire services officers and Civil Aid Service officers to the scene,” the Government Flying Service said.

Chung was among a group of more than 10 paraglider pilots who took off from Sunset Peak, also known as Tai Tung Shan, in Lantau South Country Park at 2pm on Sunday.

They were expected to land on a beach in Cheung Sha the same day, but sudden gusts blew them off course.

The cloud cover prevented helicopter access until today
Hong Kong Paragliding Association

The search and rescue operation, conducted over land, sea and air, began at about 7.40pm when Chung could not be contacted.

The Hong Kong Paragliding Association, which governs the sport in the city, said on Friday that days of cloud cover at higher elevations hampered the search.

“Multiple search teams covered this area and were frustratingly close but visibilities were as low as five meters. The cloud cover prevented helicopter access until today,” the association said in a statement.

“Our thoughts are with the family of the pilot and we ask that the media respect their privacy at this difficult time.

“Our sincerest thanks to the police, marine police, fire service, Civil Aid Service and the Government Flying Service in addition to the many fellow paraglider pilots on foot who all worked together tirelessly and bravely searching in some extremely tough conditions.”

Association chairman Richard Threlfall earlier told the Post that paragliding started in Hong Kong when the organisation was founded in 1991. He said the scale of the search operation for a paraglider was unprecedented in the city.

The association said the “entire Hong Kong community came together to support the search and that is truly appreciated”.

Search for paraglider enters fourth day as low visibility hampers rescuers

The Hong Kong Red Cross has offered a team to provide psychological support to family, friends and volunteer search teams affected by the incident.

The search was suspended intermittently because of heavy rain early in the week. More than 100 rescuers – including police, fire and Civil Aid Service officers as well as 40 volunteer paraglider pilots – combed several locations on Lantau and nearby areas in the hunt for Chung.

The Government Flying Service carried out 23 helicopter flights for the search mission. It mobilised 35 pilots and 40 aircrewman officers with a total flight time of almost 23 hours.