Families and friends of eight scuba divers who went missing in waters off Kenting National Park on Saturday morning were rejoicing yesterday after a marathon 10-hour swim by one of the group led to the rest being rescued.
Ting Po-ling (丁柏齡), a diving instructor, reached the shoreline of Taimali Township (太麻里), Taitung County, before midnight on Sunday to raise an alert.
Ting told coast guard officers that he had left the other seven divers alive in waters off Taimali.
Helicopters rescued five of the divers at 2am yesterday after the divers used the flashes on their underwater camera to pinpoint their location. The remaining two divers were picked up by helicopter around 10am, coast guard officers said.
The six men and two women were hospitalized immediately, officers said. Doctors said they were suffering from minor dehydration, facial burns and hypothermia, but were in stable condition.
Ting told reporters at the hospital that it took him almost 10 hours to reach the coast.
“The desire to have a cold sports drink gave me the strength to reach land,” he said.
Ting said the group was diving between Oluanpi (鵝鑾鼻) and Chihsingyen (七星岩), a popular diving spot off Kenting National Park, on Saturday morning.
He had planned to lead the divers to the south, but the strong current carried them to the northeast and they lost contact with their dive boat.
The first night in the water was very cold, Ting said, and he asked the others to watch out for one another and try to stay awake. He said they floated on their backs to save energy, linked hands to ensure they would stick together, and chatted and joked to keep their spirits up.
At 6:30am on Sunday they saw a helicopter flying nearby, but they were not spotted, he said, and that was when the decision was made for some of the group to swim for help.
Ting said he divided the eight into two groups based on their strengths.
“I teamed up with three divers, but later I decided to swim to the coast by myself,” he said.
The eight, all experienced divers, were part of a 12-person group that had begun a dive at 10:30am on Saturday and were supposed to return to their boat at 11:30am.
After the eight failed to return to the boat, the boat’s skipper reported their disappearance to the coast guard at Hengchun (恆春). Five helicopters and nine patrol boats took part in the rescue operation, while the divers’ relatives hired fishing boats to help with the search.
NEXT STEP? The contract chipmaker said it would decide whether to add more plants based on operation efficiency, cost economics and demand Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co (TSMC, 台積電) is planning to build several more chipmaking fabs in the US state of Arizona beyond the one already planned, three people familiar with the matter said. TSMC, the world’s largest contract chipmaker, announced in May last year that it would build a US$12 billion fab in Arizona. The 12-inch wafer fab in Phoenix is expected to start mass production in 2024, the Investment Commission said in December, when it approved the plan. Three sources familiar with the matter, speaking on condition of anonymity as they were not authorized to speak to the media, said that up
VIRUS CURBS: Visiting people staying at healthcare and long-term care facilities in Taipei, New Taipei City and Taoyuan is banned until May 17, the CECC announced The Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) yesterday banned visits to patients or residents at healthcare and long-term care facilities in three cities until May 17. It also reported six imported cases of COVID-19 and two cases with unclear infection sources. As the number of locally transmitted cases rises, some of whom have visited many places in Taipei, New Taipei City and Taoyuan, enhanced disease prevention measures have to be implemented in the three cities, said Minister of Health and Welfare Chen Shih-chung (陳時中), who heads the center. “Visiting people staying at healthcare and long-term care facilities in Taipei, New Taipei City and
TAKING NOTICE: In the first time that G7 foreign ministers have mentioned Taiwan in a joint communique, they called for ‘peace and stability across the Taiwan Strait’ The Presidential Office yesterday thanked the G7 foreign ministers for their strong support of Taiwan after the group in its joint statement on Wednesday called for the nation’s participation in the WHO, and the importance of peace and stability across the Taiwan Strait. The ministers in a communique issued at the end of their three-day meeting declared support for “Taiwan’s meaningful participation” in WHO forums and the World Health Assembly (WHA). “The international community should be able to benefit from the experience of all partners, including Taiwan’s successful contribution to the tackling of the COVID-19 pandemic,” it said. The statement included a section
UP TO TWO DAYS: Minister of Health and Welfare Chen Shih-chung said that most who got the shot and felt discomfort only felt ill for the first two days Employees can ask for unpaid COVID-19 vaccination leave, from the day of their shot until the end of the next day, the Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) announced yesterday, adding that the policy takes effect immediately. “The policy of unpaid COVID-19 vaccination leave will be implemented starting on May 5, and all workers and civil servants will be eligible,” Minister of Health and Welfare Chen Shih-chung (陳時中), who heads the center, told a news conference. Leave can be taken on the day of vaccination and if recipients feel discomfort after getting the shot, they can extend the leave to all of the