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Swimmer drowns in Hong Kong's annual Harbour race

Local media said the man who died was rushed to hospital after being pulled unconscious from the water by a rescue boat. (Representative image) Photograph: (AFP)

Hong Kong Oct 16, 2016, 07.26 AM (IST)

A participant of the Hong Kong annual swimming race drowned on Saturday while another was left in a critical condition, international news agency AFP reported.  

The man who died was reported to be in his forties. He was rushed to hospital after being pulled unconscious from the water, according to local media reports. Another woman, thought to be in her 60s, was separately pulled unconscious from the water and is reported to be in intensive care in a hospital, AFP reported. 

Both the dead man and the woman had participated in the leisure category (for the slow swimmers) of the 1500-metre race that saw around 3,000 people swim between two piers on opposite sides of Hong Kong's famous harbour.

The annual cross-harbour swimming event attracts world-class international competitors.

Several local media reports, however, questioned why only 10 extra lifeguards had been added when the field had expanded so much. There was a total of 120 lifeguards at the event, local broadcaster RTHK reported on its website.

The Hong Kong Amateur Swimming Association, who organised the event, and the title sponsor New World Development issued a statement expressing their "deepest sorrow" over what they called a tragic accident.

"The swimmer was rescued but attempts to resuscitate him failed and he subsequently passed away," the statement said.

According to local media, this is the first death in the race since it was resumed in 2011 after a 30-year break. The decades-long hiatus was due to fears over pollution levels in the water.

(WION with inputs from AFP) 

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