Hong Kong windsurfer drowns off public beach closed due to coronavirus

Sum Lok-kei

A windsurfer in Hong Kong drowned off a closed public beach while typhoon standby signal No 1 was in force on Sunday.

Dozens of beaches remain without lifeguards after the government suspended service due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The 39-year-old windsurfer was thought to have drowned off Lower Cheung Sha Beach on Lantau Island, police said. Seas were choppy in the late morning with Tropical Cyclone Nuri about 260km west-southwest of the city.

She was pulled from the water by a friend and rushed to North Lantau Hospital but pronounced death before 1pm.

Hong Kong Observatory drops typhoon warning for Tropical Cyclone Nuri

“Following a primary investigation, the police believe the incident was not suspicious,” the force said, adding the exact cause of death would be determined by an autopsy.

More than 40 public beaches managed by the Leisure and Cultural Services Department were closed and lifeguard services stopped due to the coronavirus pandemic in late March.

“The public should neither swim nor gather at the closed beaches for social-distancing reasons and to avoid accidents,” the department said on Wednesday.

As the threat from Covid-19 recedes, the city has gradually reopened facilities, including 21 beaches where lifeguard services have resumed, but Lower Cheung Sha Beach is not among them.

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