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
November 24, 2014 -- Updated 0118 GMT (0918 HKT)
The interior of the Formosa Boulevard Mass Rapid Transit Station in Kaohsiung, in southern Taiwan.
These quirky and beautiful subway stops make standing cheek-to-cheek with 45 strangers almost seem fun.
November 21, 2014 -- Updated 1314 GMT (2114 HKT)
A scene from a desert safari in Dubai
Luxury vintage Land Rover tours explore Bedouin backwaters without bashing up precious dunes.
November 20, 2014 -- Updated 0250 GMT (1050 HKT)
Cities around the world have closed the brew gap, but the Oregon city's innovative scene continues to lead the beer parade.
November 19, 2014 -- Updated 2249 GMT (0649 HKT)
From gourmet hotdogs to Sevillian tapas, the food served in these London restaurants is worth lining up for.
November 20, 2014 -- Updated 1545 GMT (2345 HKT)
Plans are underway to build the world's tallest -- and quite possibly most terrifying -- roller coaster at an Orlando, Florida, theme park due to open in 2017.
November 18, 2014 -- Updated 1932 GMT (0332 HKT)
The 7th Annual Cruise Critic Editors' Picks Awards highlight the top cruise lines for North American travelers in 18 categories.
November 19, 2014 -- Updated 0206 GMT (1006 HKT)
Joining the ranks of pilgrims tackling Adam's Peak rewards with a spiritual awakening, or at least a stunning sunrise.
November 18, 2014 -- Updated 1313 GMT (2113 HKT)
The cover of Norway's new passport design
Beautifully designed travel document reveals image of Northern Lights when placed under UV light.
November 18, 2014 -- Updated 0525 GMT (1325 HKT)
Properties in the Italian village of Santo Stefano di Sessanio have been converted into a high end hotel spread through the village.
New concept offering luxury rooms in ancient dwellings helps spare beautiful villages from falling into ruin.
November 21, 2014 -- Updated 2247 GMT (0647 HKT)
Are you the butcher or the cattle? Tainted meat-obsessed fans are following the tracks of their favorite "Walking Dead" survivors.
November 17, 2014 -- Updated 0521 GMT (1321 HKT)
People never cease to find amazing ways to make water more incredible than it already is. Here are some powerful examples
ADVERTISEMENT