Mon, Nov 19, 2007 - Page 2 News List

Operator to face charges after boat accident

By Rich Chang  /  STAFF REPORTER

The Hsinlienfa 168 lies moored in Suao Harbor after two crew members died at sea on a fishing trip on Saturday.

PHOTO: CHIANG CHIH-HSIUNG, TAIPEI TIMES

Ilan prosecutors said yesterday an operator of a fishing boat would be charged with a crime for not operating the vessel properly which resulted in the deaths of two fishermen.

The fishermen -- Sun Pei-chun(孫培峻), 33, and Hsu Chen-Lu(許振祿), 51 -- died on Saturday evening after they dived from their fishing boat into the sea to catch fish.

Ilan prosecutors said the incident occurred as the Hsinlienfa 168 operated near Turtle Island (龜山島) in Ilan County on Saturday evening.

Another two divers were saved in the accident, prosecutors said.

Prosecutors said that because the fishing boat's operator Tu Chuen-yi (涂權億) operated the vessel improperly, the propellers on one side of the fishing boat cut pipes which provided oxygen to the divers, leaving the four divers 30m under sea level with no oxygen.

Prosecutors said Tu would be charged with occupational negligent manslaughter. They said Sun and Hsu died before crew members could pull them out of the water.

The other two divers survived by floating on the sea until their colleagues could save them.

Prosecutors said the coast guard received calls for help from the boat at 7pm and immediately deployed a cutter to send the two surviving divers to a hospital to receive medical treatment.

Prosecutors said the divers were at grave risk because none of them had diving licenses and they did not have any safety equipment.

Prosecutors said they originally suspected the deaths were the result of poisoning because the coast guard officers received phone calls saying that the fishing boat was fishing with poison, but prosecutors said a postmortem examination yesterday found the two victims had drowned.

Prosecutors said that whether or not the boat used a fish positioning system would require further investigation.

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