Four bodies recovered in fishing boat accident

Four bodies recovered in fishing boat accident
PHOTO: AFP

TAIPEI - The bodies of four of the nine crew members who had gone missing after their fishing boat capsized were recovered yesterday, as rescuers continued to search for the remaining five in waters off Taiwan's west coast, Coast Guard officials said.

Two of the bodies were found drifting at sea by fishing boats working in the area, while the other two were recovered by navy divers from the cabin of the capsized Shih Hui No. 31 vessel, said the officials.

A media report said one of the bodies had already been identified as a migrant fisherman from Indonesia hired to work on Shih Hui No. 31. The other three had yet to be identified, the report said.

As of press time, no updates on the search for the remaining five were available.

The Keelung-registered Shih Hui No. 31 carrying nine crew members capsized after colliding with a cargo ship off the coast of the northern city of Taoyuan in the early hours of Friday.

The captain of the boat is Taiwanese; of the rest of the crew, four are Chinese and four Indonesian.

The cause of the collision has yet to be determined.

Immediate rescue work following the accident was hampered by tangled fishing nets that prevented divers from a doing a full search of the inside of the vessel.

Divers did not discover the first body from the boat until around noon, and the second was recovered in the afternoon.

Earlier, a fishing boat, Ta Lu Mei No. 66, found a body adrift off the coast of Taoyuan's Chuwei fishing port, a little less than five nautical miles from the accident site, at about 9 am The body was later ferried back to Tamsui in New Taipei City by the Coast Guard, according to the United Evening News.

A second body was found by another fishing boat at around 2:20 pm, and it was also ferried to Tamsui, a media report said.

Coast Guard personnel stationed in Hsinchu said they received reports of the accident at about 2:30 am Friday, and dispatched a rescue mission to the site, officials said.

The officials said that when the coast guards arrived at the scene at about 4 am, Shih Hui No. 31 was already upside down.

The 48-ton fishing boat collided with the 8,100-ton cargo ship, Asia Cement No. 2.

U-Ming Marine Transport, which owns Asia Cement, said it had also dispatched its own rescuers with the rescue team.

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