Second swimmer dies after being pulled from water at Hong Kong cross-harbour race

59-year-old woman, who was participating in the leisure category, had been in critical condition in hospital after being rescued

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 19 October, 2016, 8:46am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 19 October, 2016, 7:55pm

This year’s annual cross-harbour swim was further tainted after another participant, who had been in critical condition after being rescued from the water, died in hospital.

This was the second death to mar the contest, which took place on Sunday and saw about 3,000 swimmers navigating 1.5km from Sam Ka Tsuen public pier at Lei Yue Mun to Quarry Bay Park on the other side of Victoria Harbour.

The 59-year-old woman, who was participating in the leisure category, was found unconscious in the water. She was pulled up by lifeguards at about 9.30am, 15 minutes before a 46-year-old male swimmer in the same category was pulled unconscious from the water near the finish line at Quarry Bay Park.

One dead, one hospitalised after Hong Kong cross-harbour swim race

Both were sent to Pamela Youde Nethersole Eastern Hospital, where the man died.

The woman was admitted to the intensive care unit, where she remained in a critical condition.

She died at 11.06pm on Monday.

The deaths were the first casualties since the race resumed in 2011 after a three-decade hiatus due to concerns about water pollution.

Improve safety measures for popular cross-harbour swim

Organiser Hong Kong Amateur Swimming Association said there were sufficient lifeguards for the event. Lifeguard boats had lined the course at 30m intervals, each patrolling a section of the water to cover the entire route.

All would-be swimmers had to complete 1.5km within 45 minutes in a trial to be qualified to join the event.

The mishaps came despite picture-perfect blue skies and a temperature of 27 degrees Celsius on the day, though some swimmers complained of strong currents.