49-year-old Cathay Pacific pilot found dead at Tai Hang staircase, suicide letter points to work-related pressure as motive

Picture for illustration purpose only.

16th September 2023 – (Hong Kong) At 7.12am today, a middle-aged man was discovered attempting to hang himself on a pedestrian walkway staircase in Lai Tak Tsuen, Tai Hang. The distressing scene was brought to light by a vigilant janitor who promptly alerted authorities for help. Rescue personnel quickly arrived at the location and managed to rescue the man, who had fallen unconscious. He was swiftly transported by ambulance to Ruttonjee Hospital for urgent medical attention, but unfortunately, he was later pronounced dead.

Law enforcement officials discovered a suicide note, confirming the identity of the deceased as a 49-year-old man of South African nationality holding a Hong Kong identity card. According to sources, the man was employed as a pilot at Cathay Pacific, and it is speculated that work-related stress may have played a role in his decision to take his own life. The case is currently being treated as a suicide, as there are no indications of foul play.

It is understood that the deceased was married in 2017 and had two daughters. His wife reported that there were no apparent signs of distress from her husband the previous evening (15th), but she grew concerned when she woke up around 6am and discovered he was not at home. His mobile phone, wallet, and bag were found in the living room, further raising her worries, prompting her to report his disappearance to the authorities. Upon investigation, law enforcement officers found a farewell letter on his phone, revealing that work-related pressure had led him to contemplate suicide.

Around 8am, authorities received information that a deceased individual matching the description of the man was found hanging near the staircase between the Lai Tak Tsuen Bus Terminus and Lai Tak Tsuen. The body displayed a scar approximately 2 centimetres wide on the neck, but no suspicious wounds were found.

In response, Cathay Pacific stated that it is aware of the incident and deeply saddened by the passing of the pilot. The airline is currently providing necessary assistance to the family of the colleague.

If you have suicidal tendencies or depression, please call the 24-hour multi-lingual hotline at The Samaritans Hong Kong : 28960000.