Man trapped inside coffin was pushed, family says

By Jake Chung  /  Staff writer, with CNA

Fri, Mar 14, 2014 - Page 3

Family members of a mentally challenged man surnamed Chien (簡) said yesterday they do not believe his claim that he fell into an empty coffin and became trapped for four days, and asked police to launch an investigation into the matter as they think Chien fell victim to pranksters.

A couple discovered Chien at 11am yesterday when they heard his weak calls for help at the public cemetery in Nantou County’s Caotun Township (草屯).

They called local authorities. Caotun division chief Lan Sen-chiu (藍森秋) arrived shortly afterward and he pulled Chien from the coffin.

Though he suffered bruising to his lower back and was slightly dehydrated and a little hypothermic, Chien was given a clean bill of health when sent to hospital for a checkup.

Lan said that Chien told him immediately after his rescue that he had been pushed into the coffin by drunken friends on Saturday evening after visiting a local KTV. However, he later changed his statement and said he had accidentally fallen into the coffin while answering the call of nature.

Chien’s family said there must be a reason he changed his statement and called for the police to look into the matter. Chien’s two elder brothers suspect that Chien may have been picked on by pranksters.

Chien’s second sister-in-law said Chien works at a traditional morning market in Caotun and would usually go out after work for a drink and singing at a local KTV with other workers, adding that she suspected those men had pushed Chien into the coffin.

Lan said the coffin lid was 40cm thick and roughly 180cm in length, adding that with the recent wet weather it would have weighed more than 100kg. He added that it was very improbable that Chien could have climbed into the coffin and dragged the lid over it on his own.

Chien said he had been calling for help for the past four days, but no one heard him. He had to resort to drinking his own urine and catching rainwater with a plastic bag he had with him.