Annual Hong Kong Cross-Harbor Race Resulted In 1 Death, 1 Critical

The annual Hong Kong Cross-Harbor race took place this past Saturday, October 15th, but a tragedy was part of this year’s event.

According to local media, a male swimmer in his 40’s was pulled unconscious from the water by a rescue boat during the race and was declared dead after being rushed to the hospital. In a separate incident, a woman in her 60’s was also pulled unconscious from the water by lifeguards and is currently in the intensive care unit in the hospital.

The Hong Kong Cross-Harbor race is an annual 1500m race between two piers at Sam Ka Tsuen Public Pier and Quarry Bay Park. The race typically attracts approximately 2500 racers, although this year the event saw 3,000 competitors across the two categories of ‘racing’ and ‘recreational’.

The Hong Kong Amateur Swimming Associations, which organized the race, reportedly confirmed that there were a sufficient number of lifeguards for the event. Additionally, the weather was reportedly warm and sunny, with air temperatures hovering around 30C  (86F).

This isn’t the first controversy surrounding this Hong Kong Cross-Harbor race, as the 2015 edition ran into disqualification concerns.  Last year 10 participants in the event claimed they were unfairly disqualified for jumping the gun, saying instead that it was the organizers of the event who were to blame for ‘poor arrangements’.

The 2016 Hong Kong Harbor champions were American Chip Peterson and Dutch swimmer Sharon van Rouwendaal.

Updated from original publishing with FINA’s statement below:


FINA is very sad to hear of the unfortunate incident which led to the death of a swimmer during the Hong Kong Cross-Harbour open water race on Sunday. Our deepest sympathies go out to the swimmer’s family.

The Hong Kong Cross-Harbour open water race, which is not a FINA event, has been successfully organised for many years. However, as a result of this unfortunate incident, working closely with The Hong Kong Amateur Swimming Association and other National Federations around the world organising the mass participation event, we will be conducting a thorough review of the incident and the overall safety and organisation of future outdoor mass participation events.

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About Loretta Race

Loretta Race

Loretta grew up outside Toledo, OH, where she swam age group and high school. Graduating from Xavier University, she stayed in the Cincinnati, OH area and currently resides just outside the city in Northern KY.  Loretta got back into the sport of swimming via Masters and now competes and is …

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