Wed, Jan 02, 2019 - Page 2 News List

Three people drown over New Year’s holiday

By Jason Pan  /  Staff reporter

Authorities yesterday recovered bodies from three separate drowning incidents that occurred over the New Year’s Day holiday in northern Taiwan.

A teenager died after falling from a paddle boat in New Taipei City’s Bitan (碧潭) scenic area, while a fishing boat capsized off the north coast and an Yilan County resident was swept out to sea.

New Taipei City police yesterday confirmed that local firefighters had retrieved the body of a 15-year-old boy surnamed Chen.

They said that Chen had met with four friends to celebrate New Year’s Eve by setting off fireworks at a park, and then headed to Bitan’s Sindian River (新店溪), where they tried to get into one of the docked paddle boats.

After two of the boys got on the boat, a third boy hopped in, but the added weight shifted the boat’s balance and it flipped, and the three teenagers fell into the water, police said.

Two of the boys managed to pull themselves up onto the pier, but Chen panicked and kicked about in the water, shouting for help.

His friends threw ropes near him, but he could not swim and grab the ropes.

They called local police and firefighters for help, but Chen succumbed to the water.

Rescuers found him later yesterday morning, police said, adding that emergency procedures failed to revive him.

In the second incident, an Yilan resident went missing after being swept out to sea.

Rescuers retrieved the body of the 56-year-old man, surnamed Lee (李), whose fishing boat had capsized in the waters off New Taipei City’s Shihmen Township (石門).

Residents from the coastal village said the man, an eel fisher, had not been wearing a life vest, and that strong waves carried him out to sea.

A separate drowning death was reported when a body was found floating in the Tamsui River (淡水河) near Chenglu Bridge (成蘆橋) in New Taipei City’s Wugu District (五股).

Police and firefighters retrieved the body, who was identified as a 74-year-old man surnamed Liao (廖).

Investigators have tentatively ruled it a suicide.

An investigation is continuing to determine the cause of death, but an initial report said that Liao took his own life by jumping into the river and drowned, and that his body was found floating near the bridge.

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