Model Olivia Ku (顧思妤) reportedly drowned yesterday during an underwater photo shoot in the sea near Houpihu (後壁湖) off Pingtung County’s Hengchun Township (恆春).
Firefighters and members of Coast Patrol Corp 6-3 said Ku was pulled out of the water unconscious at 3:26pm yesterday, adding that she died at a local hospital after attempts at resuscitation failed.
The coast guard refused to comment on the circumstances surrounding the incident, or a rumor that Ku had removed her breathing apparatus for aesthetic effect prior to the incident, saying that the investigation is ongoing and a prosecutor assigned to the case was due to survey the scene later yesterday afternoon.
Photo courtesy of Eelin Modeling Agency
Ku, 25, had been an avid amateur diver for the past three years and frequently volunteered to clean refuse from the seabeds near Pingtung, said a commercial diver who was with her during the session, adding that she was “a cheerful and outgoing fellow diver.”
Another seasoned unnamed diver said he was confounded by the mishap, because a diver should have been on watch for accidents during underwater photography sessions, in which breathing apparatus is often removed, and that shoots are usually conducted in shallow waters to take advantage of natural light.
Ku was married to a cousin of Democratic Progressive Party Legislator Chiu Yi-ying (邱議瑩). She is survived by her husband and a four-year-old daughter
Chiu yesterday expressed grief at Ku’s passing on Facebook, saying: “Your life was cut too short at the age of 25, but you will always be in the hearts of our big family.”
Publicists of Eelin Entertainment, Ku’s modeling agency, said the agency’s management and employees mourn Ku’s death and are helping the family in her funeral arrangements, and that the group will not make further comments out of respect for her family’s wishes for privacy.
The agency added that the photo shoot was not work-related.
Additional reporting by Su Fu-nan
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