A man drowned while diving in Hong Kong’s Sai Kung on Sunday afternoon.
The 59-year-old from Tin Shui Wai had gone to a spot about 10 metres off Tung Lung Chau by boat with his three male friends, all of whom were licensed divers.
He and a partner were first to dive in the seas just off Sai Kung.
According to his partner, the pair had descended to a depth of around two metres when the man started to panic.
A police source said the man reportedly had difficulty breathing and had also pulled away his partner’s diving mask.
The partner told investigators when he managed to find his mask, he could not locate the victim anywhere. He alerted his friends on the boat and they called for help.
Vessels from the Fire Services Department and marine police launched a search along with a helicopter from the Government Flying Service.
After nearly an hour, at about 12.30pm, divers found the man 14 metres down at a location near where the pair had started their dive, the police source said.
He was rushed to Siu Sai Wan before being taken to Pamela Youde Nethersole Eastern Hospital in Chai Wan, but was declared dead soon after.
It was the second incident of this kind in three days. On Friday, a 60-year-old woman drowned while snorkelling with friends in Lung Ha Wan in Sai Kung. Rescuers found her 100 metres offshore but she was declared dead after being taken to Tseung Kwan O Hospital.
Hong Kong Underwater Association chairman Alex Wong Lap-kei said divers who practised at this time of the year were usually experienced because the water temperatures could be too low for beginners. He said the area would not be especially difficult for experienced divers and he could not recollect having heard of any previous accidents in the region either.
He said that from details of the incident the authorities had provided, it seemed the victim was diving within an inner bay near the island and tidal current would not be too strong there. “But, once you start panicking, there could be troubles.”