Four men stranded on yacht saved by Hong Kong marine police in heroic sea rescue during Typhoon Mangkhut
The group, all dive instructors, went to secure their boat but ended up drifting out to sea on it as storm raged
Three officers from Hong Kong’s marine police dived into the raging sea on Sunday to save four men clinging to a sinking yacht in Sai Kung, as Typhoon Mangkhut pummelled the city with waves up to five metres high.
They were part of a 17-men rescue team deployed under treacherous weather at 2.15pm, 4½ hours after the warning signal No 10, Hong Kong’s highest for typhoons, was issued.
Three members jumped into rough waters near Tsam Chuk Wan in Sai Kung to pull the men onto the police vessel, according to Superintendent Law Ka-hong of the Marine Outer Waters District.
“Waves were between five and six metres high with gusty winds and strong current amid a downpour,” Law said.
He said the four men were not wearing any life jackets at the time, and there was also the danger of all those in the water being hit by the sinking yacht. The victims were eventually brought to safety by the three officers.
Law said it was very “rare” for a marine police launch to be deployed when a typhoon signal No 10 was in force.
One police source said an exception was made this time because of the “life-or-death” situation.
The four men are diving instructors who went to secure their boat at the Tsam Chuk Wan waterfront on Sunday morning. The wife of one of the men had lost contact with her husband and sought help from police at about 11.30am, nearly two hours after the No 10 signal was issued.
Seventeen officers were dispatched on the rescue mission after a villager confirmed at about 2.15pm that four men had been spotted in the water clinging to one side of a yacht, about 200 metres from the shore.
After assessing the situation, the marine police launch was deployed from its mooring buoy at Tso Wo Hang, about 3km away from the site. Officers took about 15 minutes to untie the vessel from the buoy and another 10 minutes to reach Tsam Chuk Wan.
Law said three officers wearing life jackets and attached to safety ropes jumped into the water to help the four men board the police vessel using a rescue net, amid the high waves.
The four suffered minor scratches on their legs and were ferried to Pak Sha Wan pier in Sai Kung before being sent to Tseung Kwan O Hospital and Queen Elizabeth Hospital for treatment.
Typhoon Mangkhut was Hong Kong’s most intense storm on record, triggering the No 10 warning signal for 10 hours and causing widespread floods. Across the city, windows were smashed by violent winds and some 1,500 trees were uprooted.
Accident and emergency departments at public hospitals were kept busy with 458 people seeking medical treatment during the monster storm.