Couple killed as landslide crushes hut in Hong Kong storms

Other News Materials 7 June 2008 23:37 (UTC +04:00)

A man and woman were killed in Hong Kong Saturday when severe rainstorms caused a landslide that crushed the simple hillside hut they were living in.

Torrential downpours brought a 20-ton wall down on the hut in the city's Castle Peak Road area shortly after dawn as Hong Kong was lashed by torrential rains.

The tin-roofed hut was crushed and firemen launched a 12-hour rescue operation, bringing in two cranes to lift the wall from the top of the hut before recovering the bodies late Saturday.

The rescue operation was hampered by continuing heavy rains and firemen eventually had to dig a tunnel to access the hut and retrieve the bodies of the couple.

Neighbours say the man and women had been living in the hut and would have been asleep at the time the landslide happened. Their identities were not immediately known.

Heavy rains caused traffic chaos across Hong Kong Saturday with dozens of flights in and out of the territory delayed and some roads swamped by up to a metre of water.

Weathermen at the Hong Kong Observatory said 145.5 millimetres of rain fell between 8 a.m. and 9 a.m. Saturday, the highest hourly rainfall since records began.

Hong Kong is built on steep hillsides and landslides used to cause annual fatalities in the city of 6.9 million. In recent years, thanks to better storm defences, deaths in landslides are rare, dpa reported.