Fri, May 23, 2014 - Page 5 News List

Science student drowns during research

Staff writer, with CNA

A doctoral student in marine science died on Tuesday after being pulled from waters off the Pratas Islands (Dongsha Islands, 東沙群島) in the South China Sea, despite an extensive rescue effort by the Coast Guard Administration (CGA) involving 46 people.

The student from National Sun Yat-sen University in Greater Kaohsiung, identified by the authorities only by his surname, Ho (何), was snorkeling off the largest island of the Pratas chain along with a professor and three foreign researchers to collect seawater and seaweed samples for research, the coast guard said.

The coast guard’s Dongsha management station received a call that Ho was missing, including a request for help, at about 10am on Tuesday, CGA Southern Coastal Patrol Office Deputy Chief Hu Chung-an (胡忠安) said.

The coast guard deployed a total of 46 people, a helicopter and several patrol boats in the search for Ho, who was found two hours into the rescue operation.

He was still conscious when he was pulled from the water.

He was rushed to the hospital on Dongsha Island, where he later died, Hu said.

Dongsha is 450km south of Greater Kaohsiung.

The waters surrounding the island are quite calm at this time of year, the rescuers said, adding that it was unclear how Ho had gotten into trouble.

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