Safety under scrutiny as swimmer dies, another critical after harbour race

A swimmer drowned Sunday in Hong Kong and another was left in critical condition as they took part in the city’s annual cross-harbour swim, which attracts world-class international competitors. The man who died was taken to hospital after being pulled unconscious from the water by a rescue boat. He was reported to be in his forties. A woman thought to be in her 60s was separately pulled unconscious from the water and was said to be in intensive care in hospital.

We are very saddened by the news and will do whatever possible to help his family get through this difficult time

Ronnie Wong, president of the Hong Kong Amateur Swimming Association

The 1,500m race saw about 3,000 people swim between two piers on opposite sides of Hong Kong’s famous harbour – 500 up from the previous year. Questions are being asked why only 10 extra lifeguards were added when the field had expanded so much. There was a total of 120 lifeguards at the event. Swimmers were split into racing and recreational groups - both the dead man and the hospitalised woman were taking part in the leisure category, which is for slower swimmers.