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Inter-departmental rescue operation conducted at Tai Mo Shan (with video)

     The Fire Services Department (FSD), the Hong Kong Police Force (HKPF), the Government Flying Service (GFS) and the Civil Aid Service (CAS) at an inter-departmental press conference today (January 25) reported on the rescue operation involving hikers at Tai Mo Shan and Pat Heung yesterday (January 24).

     A spokesman for the FSD said the department received the first call for assistance at 5.19am yesterday, reporting that three hikers felt unwell and needed assistance near Rotary Club Park at Tai Mo Shan. At about 7am, the FSD had received multiple calls for assistance and hence upgraded the calls to a multiple casualties incident. The department deployed a number of fire appliances and ambulances as well as fire personnel equipped with mountain rescue equipment to rescue the people who needed assistance.

     The Assistant Director (New Territories) of Fire Services, Mr Yau Wai-keung, said, "After accessing the weather at that time and the adverse environment, the FSD decided to deploy the High Angle Rescue Team and the Special Rescue Squad to participate in the rescue operation.

     "Because the weather turned bad quickly, strong wind, low temperature and heavy rain made some parts of the hillside frozen and increased rescue difficulties. When the fire personnel discovered that areas at Tai Mo Shan were frozen, which severely affected safety in the use of roads, the department immediately informed the Forward Command Post at the scene to transport equipment suitable for use on frozen roads to the rescue personnel."

     As at 3pm today, the FSD had deployed 53 fire appliances, 39 ambulances and more than 300 fire personnel for the operation. A total of 129 people were taken to places of safety by fire personnel. Also, 67 persons were sent to hospital for medical treatment.

     Various units of the HKPF, including Traffic, Police Tactical Unit and Quick Reaction Force also attended scene to conduct traffic control, crowd management and assist in the rescue operation. Besides assisting in searching for the trapped hikers, The Police also advised members of the public to leave the scene as soon as possible to ensure their safety under the inclement weather and to avoid hindering the rescue operation.

     An outdoor competition took place at Tai Mo Shan yesterday. The Police contacted some of the participants after liaising with the organiser to ensure their safety. At about 2pm this afternoon, the organiser confirmed the safety of all participants.

     The GFS conducted mountain rescue operations at Sunset Peak and Tai Mo Shan between 7am and 10pm yesterday. The Super Puma helicopters made eight flights to convey eight patients to the GFS Headquarters on Lantau and the Accident and Emergency Department of Pamela Youde Nethersole Eastern Hospital.

     The Mountain Search and Rescue Company of the CAS deployed more than 30 personnel with other government departments to rescue persons who were lost and offered hot drinks and blankets to them. The CAS also arranged for vehicles to transport the persons who were rescued down from mountain areas.

Ends/Monday, January 25, 2016
Issued at HKT 21:32


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