On Saturday 18 November my girlfriend was on a ferry from Hong Kong island to Mui Wo, which is on Lantau Island. She was going to participate in an Action Asia organized adventure race.
It was a so called slow ferry as she was taking her mountainbike with her on the ferry. The regular (fast) ferry doesn't allow you to do that. With her there were many other racers on board preparing themselves for a nice event.
Suddenly some of the ferry staff started running around and within moments an announcement was made on the tannoy that someone jumped off the ship to commit suicide. A few interesting observations here....the announcement was done in cantonese only, so the majority of foreigners had no clue what was going on. Second, why do you need to announce that it looked like a suicide rather then just "man overboard". The extra bit creates a lot of sensation etc. on the boat as in people getting camera's out and often blocking assistance.
Anyway, the boat starts making a turn to go and get the "jumper" out of the water. When they get really close, the staff is trying to reach for him with floats and the like, however the person was face down in the water and probably unconscious at that time. Apparently it took a while before the staff of the boat jumped in the water to get the person close to the boat and get him out of the water. In the meantime it got a bit tricky around the victim, as it was hard to see him and the water and there was lots of high speed boat traffic. After a little while, they have the person close enough to the boat to fetch him out of the water. As the majority of boats staff are older people, a little help from passenges would have been nice to lift the jumper back on board. NO ONE person offered ANY assistance what so ever! With all those fit people on board.....from the average local I wouldn't expect any help. People here often think about getting a good pic on mobile or camera before thinking on offering any first aid whatsoever.
Anyway, it looks like the person is still breathing...just unconscious. Next step for the staff is to put the person on his back, legs up...and seriously start pressing\pushing on his belly. On the tannoy an announcement if any one knows first aid can step forward to assist. And of course...... no one responds. Then there is this Chinese woman stepping forward trying to help a little, a westerner checks the pulse of the victim which seems present. This all happening with a big crowd around the victim....taking pictures rather then sticking out a helping hand. The staff tries to sit down the victim (still unconscious) on a deck chair?????? Which of course doesnt work out.
In the meantime, the boat had not moved. Emergency services were allerted, so after a little while there was an ambulance\rescue boat, 2 police boats, fire services all boarded against the ferry. In the end the victim was breathing and gained consciousness just before being loaded on a rescue boat to, I guess, be taken into hospital.
In total the ferry wasdelayed for more then 1/2 hour.....worse was the virtually no one on the boat offered any assistance.
THanks adventure racers.....will think about that when you make a crash of have a sprained ankle during your next race...
Any one who wanted to assist...but doesnt have any first aid skills...respond and i will organize a first aid course for you.