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Keka class launch in first night-time rescue


Marine East Division Police Launch 60 (PL60), one of two state-of-the-art Keka class all-aluminium vessels that made their debut in Marine Region earlier this year, completed its first rescue off Shek O recently.

A 45-year-old crewman from a sunken fishing boat was located using PL60's sophisticated high-technology thermal imaging equipment and successfully fished out of rough seas by its well-trained crew.

The hi-tech Keka class launch was responding to a 1 am call for help from a panic-stricken crew-member reporting the sinking of its sister fishing boat. He erroneously gave the location as being off Po Toi Island.

Keka class PL60 on its first patrol early this year

Some two nautical-miles short of their destination, the PL60 crew spotted a lone fishing boat just off Shek O and apparently adrift. Launch Commander Senior Inspector Chan Hing-chan said: "Experience told us that this was probably the fishing vessel making the report and it could be the site of the sinking and so we started our search drills immediately."

Senior Police Constable Keung Kam-ping, who was manning the thermal imager, swiftly spotted a body tossed in rough seas nearby and the crew had the satisfaction of hauling a still-living fisherman out of the water.

Mr Keung said: "We then quickly ascertained the adrift boat was the sister boat and she had rescued the remaining nine crewmen from the sunken vessel but that one of them, a 39-year-old man, had fallen into a coma."

Despite the dangers posed by poor weather and rough seas, Mr Keung and Sergeant Pong Wai-kwong jumped aboard the sister boat and immediately began cardio-pulmonary and mouth-to-mouth resuscitation on the unconscious man.

All the crewmen from the sunken boat were taken to the Sai Wan Ho Marine Regional Base for onward transmission to hospital by ambulance. Unfortunately the man needing resuscitation was certified dead on arrival at the hospital.

Mr Pong said: "It was a great pity that the unconscious man failed to survive the disaster. However, we are pleased that we saved the life of the 45-year-old man we fished from the water.

"I will never forget the reaction of the crewmen aboard the sister vessel when we boarded it. I could tell from their faces that they had no idea what to do next and were completely relying upon us.

"It was a memorable event for all of us, being the first rescue in our new launch, but for me it was extra special because it was also my 39th birthday!" he said.

Assistant Divisional Commander (Operations), Mr Lee Siu-leung said that the incident showed the high degree of alertness, decisiveness and professionalism of the Marine officers.

Mr Lee added: "It demonstrates that our capability, effectiveness and operational efficiency have been enhanced by the use of new technology, knowledge and equipment. All the efforts we have made for the launching of our new Keka class vessel, including intensive work-up training for our crew, is now paying dividends!"

Part of the PL60 crew: SPC Keung Kam-ping, operating the thermal imager, and SGT Pong Wai-kwong

Editor: Peter Tiu: 2866-6171
Reporter: Winnie Ngan: 2866-6172
David Slough: 2866-6173
Photographers: Benny Ho: 2866-6174
Almon Suen: 2866-6174
Fax: 2866-4161
Address: OffBeat, PPRB, 4/F, Harcourt House,
39 Gloucester Road, Wan Chai.
Deadline for next edition: October 15

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