Taiwan model, 25, dies during underwater mermaid photoshoot

The death of a 25-year-old Taiwanese model who was taking part in an underwater mermaid-themed photoshoot has left Taiwanese media baffled, with different eye-witnesses reporting different versions of events.

On Tuesday (May 17), Taiwan's Apple Daily reported that Olivia Ku had travelled to Pingtung County's Hengchun township for a mermaid-themed photoshoot.

The model was said to have been about six metres underwater when she removed her breathing apparatus and tried to change into a mermaid costume for a photo. However, she suffered an asthma attack while changing and had to be pulled back to shore.

Unfortunately, she could not be revived and was later declared dead in hospital.

After news of her death broke, Eelin Entertainment, one of Taiwan's top modelling agencies, released a statement denying that Ku was on a work-related shoot. According to them, she was on a personal diving trip.

Furthermore, it is unclear if the 180cm-tall model had declared that she was asthmatic before the dive. Her family reportedly said that she had also been ill with a flu prior to the dive, but the other divers who were with her seemed to be unaware of this.

Taiwan's EBC news reported that witnesses gave different accounts as to what happened that fateful day, including the depth which she was diving at. Some said she was only four metres underwater while others disputed that, claiming she was at least six metres deep.

The young model had been on diving trips before, and was a frequent volunteer with an organisation that helped to pick up trash from the seabed.

She leaves behind a 4-year-old daughter from a previous marriage.