A man was rushed to hospital on Saturday evening after the lower part of his right leg was severed by a boat propeller while he was scuba diving near Siao Liouciou (小琉球).
Rescue personnel said the limb has not been found and it might have sunk to the seabed.
The 44-year-old from Taoyuan, surnamed Chiu (邱), joined 15 divers who set out for waters near the island’s Black Dwarf Cave (烏鬼洞) at about 2pm, guided by captain Hsu Shen-mou (許申謀) and diving instructor Chen Ching-hsun (陳慶順).
The boat, Baby 66, departed from Shan Fu Harbor (杉福) and sailed south toward waters just off the coast from Black Dwarf Cave where the group hoped to see sea turtles and other marine life.
Hsu started the boat’s engine at about 5:30pm in preparation to return to shore, believing everyone was on board.
Chiu was reportedly near the back of the boat at the time and was caught in the propeller.
The other divers searched the vicinity, but could not find Chiu’s lower leg, and gave up their search to rush Chiu to hospital.
Staff at Antai Tian-Sheng Memorial Hospital in Pingtung County’s Donggang Township (東港) said that they treated the wound, as the leg could not be found.
Authorities said they are treating the incident as an act of negligence by the business leading to bodily harm, adding that an investigation is under way.
During initial questioning Hsu said he started the boat’s engine because the waves were strong and were pushing the boat dangerously close to coral nearby.
Police said they are waiting to take a statement from Chiu to better understand the circumstances at the time of the accident.
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