Male swimmer fatally struck by speedboat in Sam Mun Tsai identified as a 37-year-old doctor, 45-year-old boat operator arrested

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15th February 2024 – (Hong Kong) At 8.29am today, a swimmer named Law, aged 37, met with a fatal accident while swimming off the coast of Ma Shi Chau in Tai Po. Law’s left leg was severely injured and fractured after being struck by a passing speedboat, rendering him unconscious. The boat operator promptly rescued Law and reported the incident. However, Law had already fallen into a state of unconsciousness and was swiftly transported to Prince of Wales Hospital in Sha Tin after landing at Ma Liu Shui. Despite the efforts of paramedics who administered automated external chest compressions, Law’s critical injuries proved fatal.

Law, known to be a doctor, held the distinguished titles of Fellow of the Royal College of Physicians in the United Kingdom and Bachelor of Medicine in General Practice from the Chinese University of Hong Kong. He had previously worked at public hospitals and practiced medicine at a medical aesthetics company. Residing in Mayfair By The Sea, 23 Fo Chun Road, Providence Bay, Law was an avid swimmer who embarked on his solo swim at the time of the incident. Following the tragedy, authorities discovered clothing and slippers near the stairs of Pak Shek Kok Beach, suspected to belong to the victim. It is plausible that Law may have encountered an accident while swimming from that beach to the neighboring Yau Chau Island. As part of the ongoing investigation, law enforcement officers towed the involved speedboat to Ma Liu Shui Base. Preliminary findings led to the arrest of the boat’s operator, a 45-year-old man named Chan, on suspicion of “endangering the safety of others at sea.” Authorities are now delving deeper into the circumstances surrounding this unfortunate incident.

At the opposite side of Ma Shi Chau, there were swimmers enjoying the waters during midday, with some of them using floatation devices. Swimmers expressed that the area near Sam Mun Tsai is frequented by numerous vessels, and boat operators generally steer clear of floatation devices. Another swimmer mentioned that using a brightly coloured buoy while swimming provides an added layer of safety, making it easier for others to spot them, ensuring they do not venture too far.

Lifeguards emphasised that the area where the incident occurred is not designated for swimming, and boat operators do not specifically watch out for swimmers but rather focus on the presence of other vessels. However, when waves are high, they can obstruct the view of swimmers, and during calm waters, swimmers who are submerged may not be visible, creating blind spots for boat operators. Even in serene conditions, sunlight reflection and refraction can make it difficult for boat operators to spot swimmers in the water, leading to such unfortunate accidents.

Legislative Councillor Steven Ho expressed deep sorrow over the incident and has been advocating for maritime safety. He highlighted that accidents in the past have been caused not only by boat operators endangering the safety of others but also by swimmers obstructing coastal areas or navigational channels. To prevent further tragedies, Ho strongly recommends the demarcation of designated swimming zones in the waters, clearly identified by the use of buoys and other markers. Additionally, only swimmers wearing reflective swim caps should be allowed in these designated areas, mitigating unnecessary risks for swimmers, boat operators, and other stakeholders at sea.