Veteran HK firefighter dies after cliff plunge during rescue
Yau Siu-ming fell from a cliff, suffered head injuries and was knocked unconscious as a result
A senior Hong Kong firefighter, who was also the father of a six-year-old son, died on Wednesday after falling from a cliff and being trapped for 11 hours during a rescue operation of two stranded hikers on Tiu Shau Ngam, a mountain ridge in Ma On Shan country park.
At around 11pm on Tuesday, some four hours after they made a call for-help, two hikers – surnamed Wan, 32, and Lau, 30 – were spotted trapped on a steep hillside 10 meters below the designated walking trail, the public broadcaster RTHK reported.
The High Angle Rescue Team from Tin Sum Fire Station, led by Principal Fireman Yau Siu-ming, 50, was called in to perform a special rescue operation.
At 5:20am on Wednesday, some 500 meters away from the hikers’ location, Yau fell from a cliff, suffered head injuries and was knocked unconscious as a result.
Due to low visibility, immediate rescue efforts by the helicopter from the Government Flying Service were impossible, the Apple Daily newspaper reported.
Colleagues had to carry Yau on a stretcher and bring him to a site two kilometers downhill that was suitable site for a pickup by the chopper.
At around 4pm, Yau arrived at the Prince of Wales Hospital in Sha Tin, where he was pronounced dead due to the head injuries.
Meanwhile, the two hikers were rescued on Wednesday afternoon and taken to hospital.
Director of Fire Services Li Kin-yat praised Yau for his dedication and gallantry and expressed deep condolences to his family. An investigation into the firefighter’s death is to be launched, according to a report by Sing Pao Daily.