Death toll from bridge collapse hits five

COMPENSATION::TIPC said it would give NT$5 million to the families of each fisher who died, while the people who were hurt would receive NT$10,000 to NT$36,000

Staff writer, with CNA

Thu, Oct 03, 2019 - Page 1

Three more bodies of migrant fishers missing after the Nanfangao Bridge (南方澳橋) collapsed on Tuesday morning, crushing three fishing boats, were found yesterday, bringing the death toll to five, with one person still missing, authorities said yesterday.

Two bodies were recovered from the waters near the collapsed bridge in Suao Township (蘇澳) at about 11pm on Tuesday, the Yilan Fire Bureau said in a statement.

A third body was found at about 1am yesterday, the fourth at 8:40am and the fifth at 2:27pm, it said.

The victims were identified as 29-year-old Wartono, 32-year-old Ersona and 28-year-old Mohamad Domir, all Indonesians, and two Filipinos, 44-year-old Andree Serencio Abregana and 46-year-old George Impang, the Yilan Emergency Operation Center said.

The bodies were taken to the Su’ao Branch of Taipei Veterans General Hospital.

The search for the last missing fisher, believed to be Filipino Romulo Escalicas, is continuing, the center said.

Taiwan International Ports Corp (TIPC, 台灣港務) plans to give compensation of NT$5 million (US$160,963) to the families of each fisher who died, TIPC chief secretary Lin Chien-ming (林健明) said.

The 10 people who were injured — including nine migrant fishers and one Taiwanese driver — are to receive NT$10,000 to NT$36,000, Lin said.

Tseng Yen-pu (曾彥博), a representative of Sang Yi International Co, the fishers’ broker, said they were not covered by group accident insurance.

Meanwhile, the Manila Economic and Cultural Office (MECO) said that its top priority is to recover the remaining missing man.

Some of the victims had relatives working in Taiwan, who went to the scene of the accident, the office said.

The families would also receive financial assistance from the Philippine government, and MECO would assist in the repatriation of the remains, it added.

Indonesian Economic and Trade Office to Taipei Representative Didi Sumedi said that his office was still trying to establish contact with the families of killed and injured in the collapse to offer assistance.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs yesterday offered its condolences for the deceased to the Philippine and Indonesian offices.

The ministry and its overseas offices would offer assistance needed by the bereaved families, it said, adding that it has been in close contact with the governments of the Philippines and Indonesia as well as the domestic agencies involved in the rescue mission.

The military has deployed a floating platform to help workers remove debris and try to extract two of the boats from under collapsed sections of the bridge. The third boat was pulled out on Tuesday.

Additional reporting by Lin Chia-nan