SCMP Wednesday, August 29, 2001


Fireman missing after boy, 15, drowns

CLIFFORD LO

An off-duty fireman was feared dead last night after he went missing while trying to save a schoolboy who drowned in heavy surf at a Sai Kung beach.
Senior fireman Chiu Shun-on, 48, who was hiking in Sai Kung Country Park with 25 colleagues, dived into the sea with another fireman at Tai Long Wan when they heard Wong Wing-nam, 15, shout for help at about 1.30pm.
The schoolboy, a non-swimmer, was washed ashore and airlifted to hospital, where he was declared dead. Mr Chiu's 49-year-old colleague, Cheng Kam-wah, made it to shore but Mr Chiu was not found.
"The two firemen at one point got hold of the drowning boy but all three were washed away by strong waves and then disappeared," a police spokesman said.
Mr Chiu's colleague was washed ashore and lapsed in and out of consciousness before being revived. He refused to go to hospital because Mr Chiu was missing.
A search, involving a Government Flying Services helicopter, fireboats and marine police and Marine Department launches, was called off at 10.40pm but was to resume at 6am today.
A relative of the teenager said the schoolboy left his Tsuen Wan home at about 8am to camp with six friends.
Mr Chiu, stationed in Tsim Sha Tsui, has been in the fire brigade since 1974.
Tai Long Wan beach is not managed by the Leisure and Cultural Services Department and has no lifeguards. Yesterday 10 government-managed beaches hoisted red flags warning swimmers not to enter the water.