The body of Tsai Yao-hsing (蔡耀星), famed for learning to swim despite missing both arms, was found at the base of the Chinwen Bridge (錦文橋) in Taroko Gorge yesterday.
A preliminary investigation by Hualien police into his death suggested Tsai fell off the bridge into the river and was washed up against the base of the bridge, where he got stuck. However, police said the incident was still under investigation.
Police said they received a report yesterday that the naked body of an armless man had been found at the base of the Chinwen Bridge on the north edge of Taroko Gorge. The police later identified the body as Tsai.
Tsai, who was an Atayal Aborigine, lost his arms in a work accident when he was 16. He made a name for himself by learning to use his legs in place of his arms to not only learn to swim, but become adept at the sport. He earned the nickname the “Frog King” because of his unique swimming style.
Tsai had said that he trained by swimming in rivers, adding that he often surprised people with his agility in the water.
Tsia’s stepmother, Pan Hui-mei (潘惠妹), said yesterday that representing Taiwan in the Paralympics had been Tsai’s greatest life goal.