Kowloon Peak, where a couple from mainland China went hiking - only to be caught in Typhoon Pakhar on Saturday. A big team of firefighters was called out to rescue them. Photo: Wikimedia Commons, ken93110

A man and a woman from mainland China were rescued by firefighters after becoming trapped on Kowloon Peak for 24 hours when typhoon Pakhar approached Hong Kong on Saturday.

The 30-year-old man surnamed Li and 47-year-old woman surnamed Chen went for a hike on Kowloon Peak or Fei Ngor Shan at 2pm – despite the weather bureau issuing a typhoon no-1 alert in the morning, Sing Tao Daily reported.

However, the pair trekked on an undesignated trail and got lost. Chen slipped down a slope and injured her head, body and legs. Li, who was unhurt, called the police for help at 7pm.

Firefighters were able to locate the couple at around 9pm – when the typhoon warning had been increased to a no. 3 – but a rescue team was only able to reach them at about 11pm due to strong wind, heavy rain and a slippery slope.

The hikers and the rescue team stayed overnight on the mountain as they faced great difficulties and it would have been dangerous to evacuate the woman due to the storm, Oriental Daily reported.

By 5am on Sunday, the weather alert had increased to a typhoon no. 8 signal.

It wasn’t until 2pm on Sunday that the fire department’s high angle rescue team was able to hoist the woman on a stretcher 25 meters to the top of a cliff and then bring her down the hill with a two-hour walk.

Both hikers were sent to the United Christian Hospital. One firefighter also injured his legs during the operation.

All up, the rescue involved some 150 firefighters, 30 fire engines and nine ambulances, while 100 blankets had to sent up the hill to keep rescuers warm.

Netizens heavily criticized the two mainland hikers for putting the firefighters’ lives at risk.

Li told journalists at the hospital that he was very sorry and greatly appreciated the rescue team for coming to their aid.

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