In a grim follow-up to our original post concerning this year’s annual Hong Kong Cross Harbor open water swim, the participant who was initially listed as being in critical condition in the hospital as of last Sunday has passed away. The 59-year-old woman was pulled unconscious from the water by lifeguards at about 9:30am on October 17th and remained in critical condition at Pamela Youde Nethersole Eastern Hospital under her death late Monday evening.
Her passing marks the 2nd death of the 2016 edition of the 1.5km race from Sam Ka Tseun pier at Lei Yue Mun to Quarry Bay after we reported that a male swimmer in his 40’s had also pulled unconscious from the water by a rescue boat during the race and was declared dead after being rushed to the hospital.
The Hong Kong Cross-Harbor race is an annual 1500m race between the two aforementioned piers and historically attracts approximately 2500 racers. This year the event saw an larger field of 3,000 competitors across the two categories of ‘racing’ and ‘recreational’.
The Hong Kong Amateur Swimming Association, 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).
Although not a FINA-sanctioned event, after the sad news surrounding this year’s rendition of the race, swimming’s global governing body released the following statement:
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.