Skip to main content

Fowl play? Giant rubber duck drowns in Hong Kong

By CNN Staff
updated 8:42 AM EDT, Wed May 15, 2013
Bad night: Rubber duck recreates a scene more familiar in Hong Kong's Lan Kwai Fong or Wan Chai bar areas. Bad night: Rubber duck recreates a scene more familiar in Hong Kong's Lan Kwai Fong or Wan Chai bar areas.
HIDE CAPTION
'Rubber duck' going....
... Gone!
Talk of the town
Giant inflatable duck drowns
<<
<
1
2
3
4
>
>>
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Duck deflated overnight Tuesday
  • Rubber duck is planned to be on show until June 9
  • Duck had captivated Hong Kong

(CNN) -- Hong Kong's favorite new resident, a giant inflatable duck, took a turn for the worse on Wednesday, looking less like an oversized lovable plaything and more like an unappetizing fried egg on the water.

The 16.5-meter (54 feet) inflatable sculpture mysteriously lost its mojo overnight, deflated and bobbed lifelessly in Victoria Harbour.

Organizers called an urgent duck crisis meeting early Wednesday and didn't immediately respond to questions about the misfortunes of the duck or whether the deflation was part of regular maintenance, as reported in some local media. A tweet did appear however on the official Harbour City Twitter account, saying: "The Rubber Duck needs to freshen up. Stay tuned for its return."

Much later in the day, organizers responded and said it was a planned deflation. Why it took so long to clarify and why officials had to get senior management approval to make such a statement seems a little odd and naturally, this got Hong Konger's busy with the popular pastime of gossiping.

Deflated duck a victim of fowl play?
Not your everyday sight in Hong Kong's Victoria Harbour. A giant 16.5 meter (54 feet) inflatable duck, creatively called 'Rubber Duck' sails into town on Thursday. Not your everyday sight in Hong Kong's Victoria Harbour. A giant 16.5 meter (54 feet) inflatable duck, creatively called 'Rubber Duck' sails into town on Thursday.
Rubber ducky makes Hong Kong lots of fun
HIDE CAPTION
<<
<
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
>
>>
Gallery: Floating into Hong Kong Gallery: Floating into Hong Kong
Quacking up over art display

The duck has captivated Hong Kong since its arrival earlier this month and news of the duck's deflation was splashed across Hong Kong media and social networks with many ruminating as to the duck's health.

Called "Rubber Duck," it's the product of Dutch artist Florentijn Hofman. After going on show on May 2, it was to be on display until June 9.

The artist told CNN earlier this month the duck was built locally so it would be easier to fix should there be any duck drama.

Hong Kong is the latest port of call for the duck. It's previously taken up temporary residence in cities all over the world, including Osaka, Sydney, Sao Paolo and Amsterdam.

The duck hasn't always enjoyed plain sailing. In 2009 during a port call in Belgium, it was stabbed 42 times by a vandal.

"We don't know why the person did it," Hofman said. "But in the Middle Ages there was a moment when they ruined all the sculptures in Europe. We call it a "sculpture storm." The museum that bought the work spoke about 'Sculpture Stormers' that would hit the work - and kill it."

"But [the incident] brought the people of that town together. The community had a stake out at night and protected it and even the police looked after it. It shows that this piece of art means a lot to people in the vicinity of this work."

The duck team also closely monitor the weather after the duck copped some nasty treatment during a storm in Belgium.

"There is a crew that has wind speed meters and they follow what the weather does," Hofman said. "They monitor by computer and monitor the weather so they can react in advance because we don't want to cry if it gets ripped up."

For more details on the duck during cheerier times read our earlier report: Hong Kong crazy for giant duck

Freelancer Kate Whitehead contributed to this story.

ADVERTISEMENT
Part of complete coverage on
updated 6:01 AM EDT, Tue August 19, 2014
Photographer gives Hong Kong skyscrapers a radical new look.
updated 8:21 AM EDT, Sat August 16, 2014
A cage-free shark photographer gets up close and personal with the ocean's most feared predators.
updated 10:28 AM EDT, Fri August 15, 2014
Conde Nast Traveler reader survey praises antipodean cities but gives South Africa's biggest city a wide berth.
updated 9:22 PM EDT, Thu August 14, 2014
After the 100th anniversary of the opening of the Canal, here are 10 other ways to fall in love with the country.
updated 11:49 PM EDT, Wed August 13, 2014
In Taiwan, tourists pay to ride along in local cabs, letting fate -- and locals fares -- decide where they'll go.
updated 4:48 PM EDT, Wed August 13, 2014
It's largely devoid of human life, dark, cold and subject to dangerous levels of geological volatility -- the Arctic is surely the worst possible destination for an arts festival.
Zurich, Switzerland
It may be Switzerland's banking capital, but Zurich's real wealth lies in the village-like charm of its cobbled streets and Alpine scenery.
updated 2:54 PM EDT, Wed August 13, 2014
We've all wondered what it's like to die. Now an outfit in Shanghai says it can provide the experience.
updated 9:15 PM EDT, Wed August 13, 2014
Our special report details who, what and how much it takes to bring you the best in IFE (we'll explain).
updated 2:32 AM EDT, Wed August 13, 2014
What pizza is to New York and the cheesesteak is to Philly, the food truck has become to Los Angeles -- essential
updated 5:03 AM EDT, Wed August 20, 2014
If you've ever clicked on a list of forests to see before you die, chances are you've already seen a photo of this stunner.
updated 8:18 PM EDT, Thu August 7, 2014
The military coup in Thailand has led to a massive change in Phuket, weeding out decades of misuse and abuse at one of the world's most popular holiday destinations.
updated 5:56 AM EDT, Thu July 31, 2014
With a mix of Indian, African, French and Chinese influences, Mauritius represents a cultural smorgasbord.
updated 8:44 AM EDT, Fri August 8, 2014
There's nothing like high drama on a beach.
updated 5:57 AM EDT, Mon August 11, 2014
Home to big game, sparkling beaches, and stunning sunsets, Malawi makes for an idyllic travel destination.
ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT