Hot weather blamed for ambulance breakdowns
A spate of ambulance breakdowns, including one in which an elderly man later died, has been blamed on hot, humid weather in Hong Kong, a media report said Monday.
Six ambulances have broken down since July 20 while responding to emergency calls including two on Sunday, the Standard newspaper said, the dpa reported.
The breakdowns came as fire services chiefs are planning to spend 120 million Hong Kong dollars (15.4 million US dollars) replacing nearly half the fleet of 250 ambulances within the next 18 months.
Thirty-five of the German-made vehicles are expected to arrive in the next few months while the other 88 are to hit the road by the end of 2009.
The fire department, which controls the ambulance service, said the order was placed last year and had nothing to do with the breakdowns.
"This year's failure rates are within the normal range, but with the recent hot weather, the percentage of breakdowns may be a little higher, which is normal," a department spokesman said.
Temperatures in the past 10 days have averaged around 31 degrees with relative humidity of about 95 per cent.