For Information
on 7 January 1999

LegCo Panel on Security
Emergency Ambulance Services for Passengers
using the Airport at Chek Lap Kok


This paper informs members of the following issues pertaining to the provision of emergency ambulance service (EAS) at the international Airport at Chek Lap Kok:-

  1. the circumstances related to the provision of EAS to a case of heart attack on board an inbound flight on 11 August 1998;

  2. follow-up measures taken by the Fire Services Department (FSD) and the Airport Authority (AA) to enhance the arrangements for attending to emergency calls at the airport; and.

  3. the current provision and adequacy of EAS at the airport.
The heart attack case on 11 August 1998

2. On 11 August 1998 at 10:56 am, the Fire Services Communication Centre (FSCC) of the FSD received an emergency call from an air passenger that another passenger on board an aircraft taxiing in the apron of the airport was suffering from heart disease. An ambulance from the Chek Lap Kok (CLK) Fire Station was despatched at 10:57 am and arrived at the apron gate at 11:01 a.m. in a travel time of four minutes.

3. The ambulance was guided by the AA's escort vehicle to the designated plane parking stand and reached the patient on board the aircraft at 11:09 am. The ambulance crew immediately provided initial treatment to the patient before he was conveyed to the hospital. The patient arrived at Princess Margaret Hospital in stable condition.

Follow-up measures taken by the FSD and AA to enhance the arrangements for attending to emergency calls at the Airport

4. Subsequent to the incident, the FSD and the AA had reviewed and refined the arrangements with a view to further facilitating timely and unrestricted access for ambulances responding to emergency calls in the airport restricted areas. In addition, airlines have been reminded that if a passenger is taken ill on board an inbound flight, the flight crew should notify the airport before landing so that an ambulance can be standing-by upon arrival of the aircraft at the designated parking stand.

The current provision and adequacy of EAS at the airport

5. Emergency ambulance service for the Airport is provided by the CLK Fire Station and backed up by the nearby Tung Chung (TC) Fire Station where two and four ambulances are posted respectively on a 24-hour basis. Under normal circumstances, an ambulance from the CLK Fire Station can reach the airfield or the passenger terminal building (PTB) within a four-minute travel time, and it takes another three to five minutes for the ambulance crew to reach a patient within the PTB or on board an aircraft parking in the apron.

6. The FSD has undertaken to station at least four ambulances at the CLK and TC Fire Stations at anytime to serve airport users and passengers. Plans are in hand to deploy four additional ambulances to CLK/TC Fire Station in 1999-2000, i.e., making up a total of ten ambulances to cater for any major incident at the airport. Furthermore, back-up resources will be available from Tsing Yi and other ambulance depots, if necessary.

7. We consider such a level of service provision adequate, given that an ambulance of the CLK Fire Station currently handles on average about four emergency calls a day, whereas ambulances in other areas are responding to about nine calls daily.

8. As can be seen from the layout plan at Annex, the CLK Fire Station is in close proximity to the airport operational area, allowing direct and easy access to different facilities, including the PTB, the apron area and other major service providers. To further enhance the EAS particularly for the airport restricted areas, FSD is exploring with the AA the possibility of stationing an ambulance in the restricted area to facilitate prompt and direct emergency ambulance response. The Department will consider running a six-month trial scheme in early 1999.

Security Bureau
December 98