Date
27 March 2017
Organizers of the Lantau 2 Peaks race are facing questions after a Belgian runner met with an accident during stormy weather on Sunday. Photos: Apple Daily, Takungpao.com
Organizers of the Lantau 2 Peaks race are facing questions after a Belgian runner met with an accident during stormy weather on Sunday. Photos: Apple Daily, Takungpao.com

Belgian runner saved by tree after accident during Lantau race

A 45-year-old Belgian man had a lucky escape as he slipped off a mountain path during an adventure run in Lantau on Sunday. 

Participating in the Lantau 2 Peaks run, the man fell down a wet slope on the Ngong Ping Trail during stormy weather. 

He began plunging downhill but was fortunately stopped by a tree about four meters into the descent, Apple Daily reported.

In the end, the runner escaped with a fractured arm, rather than suffer a more serious potential outcome, the paper said.

The runner, who was identified only by his first name — Michel, was participating in a 23-km run organized by Action Asia Events yesterday, when Hong Kong saw the typhoon signal No. 3 hoisted.

The race, which starts from Tung Chung Citygate is very tough, as runners have to navigate narrow mountain paths and scale both the Sunset Peak and Lantau Peak.

The accident involving the Belgian took place at around 11 am after Michel took to the mountain trail along with his wife early in the morning.

The Government Flying Services was unable to send out helicopters for the rescue, as the weather conditions were very poor, with gust wind measuring up to 117 kilometers per hour.

Michel was finally taken to the Ngong Ping Piazza at 3 pm on a stretcher by firemen taking turns, before he was sent to a hospital by an ambulance.

Following the news of the accident, netizens have wondered why organizers went ahead with the event despite the bad weather.

A spokesperson for Action Asia said the weather was not too bad when the race began, but it deteriorated later.

Only one person was injured out of about a thousand runners coming from all parts of the world, he said, noting that the event has been held for the last 17 years.

Louie Lobo of the Hong Kong Baptist University’s Department of Physical Education said the safety of runners should be a priority under all conditions. The organizer should not have let runners take any risk running uphill, he said.

Even experienced runners could face serious risk from potential hazards, such as tree collapse, torrential floods and landslides, when a typhoon signal is on, Lobo said.

He added that there has been an increase in the number of outdoor events or races that are highly gimmicky, yet without the necessary and proper risk assessment.

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EL/AC/RC

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