The area of The Peak helicopter lights were searching. Photo: SCMP Pictures

Helicopters swoop in amid dramatic rescue of mainland Chinese tourist from Hong Kong cliff edge on The Peak

All-night operation mounted in search of hiker who "lost his way" after ride up Mid-Levels escalators

Rescue helicopters swooped in to help an injured and “lost” mainland tourist hanging precariously off a cliff edge on The Peak last night.

An all-night operation in search of the hiker began at 5pm and ended after 2am this morning.

The tourist refused hospital treatment, and walked away from the scene after being rescued and led to Po Shan Road in the Mid-Levels.

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“We received the call for the special service at 5.14pm last night, so we deployed fire engines and an ambulance,” a spokesman for the Fire Services Department said.

"The male hiker refused to go to hospital, so we ended the operation at 2.04am when the hiker reached the road level"
Fire Services Department spokesman

“The male hiker refused to go to hospital, so we ended the operation at 2.04am when the hiker reached the road level.”

The spokesman said the department did not know who had made the call requesting help.

The rescue team consisted of two fire engines and one ambulance that arrived at the scene at 5.21pm last night. Two Government Flying Service helicopters were deployed along with one team from the Civil Aid Service to climb to the hiker’s position.

A police spokeswoman said the 27-year-old tourist, surnamed Yu and holding a two-way permit, called police at 5.24pm saying he had made his way from Central up to The Peak but lost his way.

“He told police he took the escalator system from Central to the Mid-Levels and walked about 30 minutes before he lost the way,” police said. “He claimed he tripped and fell to the ground, sustaining leg injuries.”

Police said the hiker’s leg injuries were minor and did not require hospital treatment.

Two Government Flying Service helicopters were deployed. Photo: K.Y. Cheng

Dai Evans, operations manager for the Government Flying Service, said: “A mainland tourist got lost, and sustained a minor injury. [Fire services] called for assistance, and the helicopter went out and located him, but it was too dangerous to winch.”

The proximity of a surrounding cliff face and apartment buildings meant a helicopter rescue was too risky, and winds created by the chopper potentially could have dislodged the man from his setting.

“A second helicopter went out and provided illumination for the ground party to get in and rescue the casualty,” said Evans.

Aerial services ended at 11.15pm last night, he said.

The tourist was described “as hanging off a cliff face, and not going to move very far”.

“We are regularly called out [to help] people who are lost, but it depends on what situation they’re in – probably once a month [there is someone] stuck on cliffs who can’t move,” Evans said.

The episode sparked lively conversation on social media among residents of nearby apartment blocks in Mid-Levels, with some enjoying a front-row view of the action amid the noise and lights from the helicopter.

The rescue operation comes amid a string of burglaries on The Peak, including a break-in at the home of HSBC Asia-Pacific chief executive Peter Wong Tung-shun in Middle Gap Road, which became the target of a HK$2.45 million theft. A 24-year-old mainland man was arrested on Monday in connection with the burglary on Sunday night. One man is still being sought by police.

Additional reporting by Clifford Lo