Hong Kong man dies during scuba dive trip to South Africa

A 50-year-old Hong Kong man died after losing consciousness while scuba diving in a South African beach despite resuscitation efforts by rescuers.

The Chinese consulate in Cape Town yesterday confirmed that the deceased was a Hong Kong ID holder, a day after the incident in Gqeberha city, which is also called Port Elizabeth and known for its beaches.

The South African National Sea Rescue Institute, a volunteer organization, said it received a report at around 10.45am on Sunday about a male tourist who had surfaced unconscious. He was pulled onto a charter boat, where he received cardiopulmonary resuscitation.

The NSRI launched a rescue craft and met the charter boat a half nautical mile from the port.

“The male casualty was transferred onto our NSRI rescue craft, and with NSRI medics continuing with CPR on the man, he was brought to our Gqeberha rescue station where paramedics continued with advanced life support CPR efforts,” said spokesman Justin Erasmus.

“After all efforts to resuscitate the man were exhausted, he was sadly declared dead.”

The NSRI extended its condolences to the family members of the deceased, while South African police said they are investigating the cause of his death. The Immigration Department said it had contacted the Office of the Commissioner of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of China and the Chinese consulate in Cape Town after receiving an assistance request from the man’s family.

“The department will continue to maintain close contact with the family members, the office and the consulate to follow up the case and render practicable assistance,” it said.

Hong Kong Underwater Association diving division director Kelvin Kam Sheung-hang said South Africa is not a popular destination for scuba divers due to its high cost. “There is also not much to see in the undersea world,” he added.

Kam said that at least 200 dives are required before trying out places such as South Africa.

stacy.shi@singtaonewscorp.com

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