Sat, Jul 19, 2008 - Page 4 News List

Search called off in Madagascar

REWARD The families of the seven missing Taiwanese businessmen off the coast of Madagascar offered a NT$100,000 reward for the live return of their relatives

By Jenny W. Hsu  /  STAFF REPORTER

The families of the seven missing Taiwanese businessmen in Madagascar called off the aerial search effort yesterday after one Malagasy search crew member died and another was injured on duty, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said.

The families are offering a NT$100,000 (US$3,200) reward for locals who find any of the men alive and NT$20,000 if any are found dead. The figure is an astronomical amount for a country where the average daily income is less than US$0.40.

The ministry did not say who would pay the bills of the search mission that reportedly cost up to several thousand US dollars each hour and lasted nearly six days.

MOFA Spokesman Henry Chen (陳銘政) said the families of the victims had agreed to call off the aerial search mission because of persistent inclement weather.

A search team commissioned by Madagascar would continue until Antananarivo decided to terminate the efforts, Chen said, adding that MOFA has expressed condolences to the families of the Malagasy men who died and were injured on duty.

The two life vests found in the ocean by a fishing boat would be sent to Antananarivo to be verified if they were worn by any of missing men prior to their disappearance, Chen said, adding that the two representatives from the family and the two MOFA personnel would also leave St. Marie, the island where the boat apparently capsized last Friday.

The seven missing Taiwanese businessmen were on a commercial fishing grounds inspection trip along with one other Taiwanese national, Liu Shou-chih (劉守智), and a Chinese businessman, Li Bo (李波).

The bodies of Liu and Li were retrieved on Monday about 18km away from where the fishing boat apparently capsized. One Malagasy technician and a cook were successfully rescued but MOFA has been barred from questioning them.

This story has been viewed 2240 times.

Comments will be moderated. Keep comments relevant to the article. Remarks containing abusive and obscene language, personal attacks of any kind or promotion will be removed and the user banned. Final decision will be at the discretion of the Taipei Times.

TOP top