Skip to main content

Fowl play? Giant rubber duck drowns in Hong Kong

By CNN Staff
May 15, 2013 -- Updated 1242 GMT (2042 HKT)
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
April 3, 2014 -- Updated 0049 GMT (0849 HKT)
As the new season of "Game of Thrones" approaches, we pick out 20 stunning spots in one of its most oft-used locations.
April 10, 2014 -- Updated 0940 GMT (1740 HKT)
They're hot, they're popular, they're stylish. Now they're your tour guides to Italy's fashion capital.
April 8, 2014 -- Updated 0410 GMT (1210 HKT)
A quarter of the year's flown by, it's time to plan a vacation. TripAdvisor's list of Top Destinations should help.
April 8, 2014 -- Updated 0523 GMT (1323 HKT)
You may not have those $10 Heinekens and $6 bags of M&M's to kick around anymore. Happy now?
April 7, 2014 -- Updated 0725 GMT (1525 HKT)
Japan isn't a country to which you just show up and wing it. Here's how to arrive prepared.
April 3, 2014 -- Updated 1402 GMT (2202 HKT)
The Economist is latest to dogpile on the reputation of U.S. airports; one industry leader says he knows why.
April 4, 2014 -- Updated 0623 GMT (1423 HKT)
Laojun Mountain Natural Reserve gave out bags of mountain air to Chinese residents. After seeing these photos, you'll want some too.
April 2, 2014 -- Updated 1304 GMT (2104 HKT)
Forget space. Our very own planet is ripe for investigation. Here are some of the spots we know least about.
March 31, 2014 -- Updated 0651 GMT (1451 HKT)
A colossal empire of little houses stacked on top of each other, connected by staircases snaking under dangling wires -- Kowloon Walled City in Hong Kong.
April 2, 2014 -- Updated 0141 GMT (0941 HKT)
Move to squeeze in extra passengers brings dose of economic reality to dreams of luxuriously pimped aircraft.
April 1, 2014 -- Updated 0803 GMT (1603 HKT)
British sound engineer wants you to ditch the camera and open your ears to "sound tourism."
March 30, 2014 -- Updated 2256 GMT (0656 HKT)
Think bouncing on the end of an elastic rope is tough? Try jumping off a wooden tower with only a vine tied to your ankle.
March 28, 2014 -- Updated 0538 GMT (1338 HKT)
Decimated by poaching, black rhino numbers are starting to increase again, thanks, in part, to on-foot tracking tours for tourists.
March 28, 2014 -- Updated 0259 GMT (1059 HKT)
Singapore Changi Airport has been crowned the best in the world for the second year in a row at the World Airport Awards.
March 24, 2014 -- Updated 2202 GMT (0602 HKT)
What do you get when you combine 60,000 photos, eight-hour cliff treks and months of patient processing? One of the year's great time-lapse videos.
ADVERTISEMENT