8 university students dead after being swept to sea in Taiwan

TAIWAN - Eight students of Shulin Community University in New Taipei City were swept out to sea by rogue waves yesterday afternoon while walking on the coastal pavement of the Longdong Geopark in Gongliao District; all were pronounced dead at a local hospital after being retrieved by rescue personnel, according to Fire Bureau officials.

Another eight students were injured, but all were stable after receiving medical treatment.

All 16 students were among a group of 26 community university students visiting the Longdong Geopark for an outdoor learning course.

The eight students killed included six adults and two elementary school students. They were identified as Wang Fu-jen, 52, Wang Chen Hsiu-feng, 59, Wei Shu-chiao, 12, Chang Bi-hui, 51, Chen Yu-lien, 48, Wu Yu-nu, 60, Mai Ting-hua, 10, and Lee Li-hua, 56.

All eight were retrieved before 7 p.m. yesterday, but were unresponsive when taken to the Keelung branch of Chang Gung Medical Foundation, the Keelung branch of Tri-Service General Hospital, Ruifang Hospital and Aodi Health & Medicare Unit in Gongliao District, according to the Fire Bureau.

Besides the Fire Bureau, helicopters posted to the Ministry of the Interior and the Coast Guard Administration also joined the rescue operations soon after they were informed of the accident at 3:20 p.m., and the operations ended at 7 p.m. after all the eight victims were located.

Also yesterday, two anglers drowned while fishing off the coast of northeastern Yilan County, with one rescued and another still missing, according to the Yilan County Fire Bureau.

The bureau said a man fishing offshore near Nanfangao of Suao Township aboard a recreational fishing boat was pulled into the sea by high waves at around 5:30 a.m. Saturday. The man was rescued by another fishing boat, and was then rushed to a hospital. All attempts to resuscitate him were unsuccessful.

Another angler, surnamed Chen, was reported missing at 10 a.m. yesterday from a small port in Toucheng Township, of Yilan County. But poor weather hindered rescue efforts and the search for Chen was deemed futile.