Fighter aircraft may have triggered avalanche, Hong Kong survivor says

A picture posted on Facebook by Conway Leung of his trekking trip in Switzerland.
A picture posted on Facebook by Conway Leung of his trekking trip in Switzerland.

A Hong Kong man who survived a terrifying avalanche that claimed a fellow Hongkonger’s life last week in Switzerland believes low-flying fighter aircraft might have triggered the disaster.

Conway Leung Nim-ho, 61, suffered a broken leg last Thursday while trying to come to the aid of a 42-year-old climbing team member surnamed Ng on famed Alpine peak the Eiger.

Ng was killed in the avalanche of falling snow and rock that occurred at about 1:40pm when their four-man team was hiking the Obers Ischmeer glacier and heading towards the 3,160-meter-high Eismeer railway station after they had stopped to visit a cave on the mountainside.

Leung, who is still at a local hospital receiving medical treatment, told newspaper Apple Daily that military planes roared past just before they encountered the incident.

“I saw military planes fly past at a low altitude and heard a huge sound. I was leading at that time, and when I looked back, I saw snow and rocks were falling down. The three members following me got injured and I called for help,” he said.

Two other team members, both male, sustained only minor injuries and later returned to Hong Kong.

The group of experienced mountaineers had flown to Europe earlier this month and already visited Mont Blanc and Aiguille Du Midi before going to the Eiger.

Veteran Hong Kong mountaineer Chung Kin-man told SCMP that the Eiger – a 3,967-meter peak in the Bernese Alps — is known for its loose rocks and not a popular choice for Hong Kong climbers, partly due to the expensive accommodation and arrangements.

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