In the wake of accidents that saw six people drown in the sea off Taoyuan County over the past four days, the county’s Fire Department yesterday decided to advance its schedule for deploying firemen or rescue workers to dangerous water areas, originally scheduled for July 1, to start from this weekend.
Taoyuan County Fire Department Director Hsieh Ching-hsu (謝景旭) also urged schools to warn students to avoid dangerous water areas during the summer to prevent such incidents.
Among the recent drownings was a tragic case on Sunday that claimed the lives of four people from a single family — a single father, Chuang Ying-te (莊英德), was swept away by waves when he jumped into the sea trying to save his two daughters from drowning and his youngest son also drowned when he followed his father into the sea.
According to the police investigation, Chuang was a 39-year-old man who divorced four years ago and worked part-time jobs to support his family. He was released on parole last month after serving time for theft, offenses against public safety and obstructing a police officer, and his three children were fostered by their grandmother.
Chaung brought his 10-year-old and nine-year-old daughters, five-year-old son and a nine-year-old niece to Guanyin Beach (觀音海水浴場), which was closed to the public, on Sunday afternoon.
Chuang’s niece said that at 2:27pm, the two daughters were pulled away by waves when they were about 30m from shore and one of them repeatedly shouted: “Father, help!”
Chaung immediately jumped into the water to save his daughters, but was overwhelmed by large waves, she said, adding that his son, who was only a kindergarten student, also drowned when he followed his father into the sea.
She said she immediately asked for help from tourists on the shore and officials from the Coast Guard Administration’s Coast Patrol Corps 23 arrived with the Fire Department’s Third Corps in life jackets and headed out to rescue them on inflatable rafts.
The rescue workers found the four near a sea dike about 200m away from where they perished.
No vital signs were detected when they were brought to shore, and they were declared dead after cardiopulmonary resuscitation was performed on site and they were sent to hospital.
Guanyin Township Mayor Ou Ping-chen (歐炳辰) said he was sorry to hear of the accident, adding that Guanyin Beach has been closed for 10 years and signs reading: “Dangerous water area, No swimming” were posted there.