16 people trapped at Mystery Beach Sea Cave overnight airlifted to safety at dawn

A group of 16 people spent the night on a rock ledge above a beach in Yilan County after being trapped by rising waves generated by Severe Tropical Storm Kompasu, yesterday, October 10.

The group of six men, five women, and 5 children, drove to the Mystery Beach Sea Cave in four vehicles at around 11:00 am Sunday, October 10, the second day of a three-day National Day long weekend.

When the group attempted to leave on the return journey at around 3:00 pm they found a Mercedes Benz 4-wheel drive stuck in the sand between the rocks and the waterline, and the vehicles were unable to pass.

Four wheel drive stuck on beach between rocks and waterline
Vehicle stuck and blocking exit from Mystery Beach Sea Cave.

The group decided to wait until the next low tide to leave the area, however, waves increased in size due to the influence of Severe Tropical Storm Kompasu, located to the south-east en route to the South China Sea, and the group found themselves trapped, and sought refuge on a large stone platform beside the cave.

People trapped in cave

The group made contact with the Yilan County Fire Bureau at around 11:00 pm. Fire Bureau personnel provided advice and monitored the trapped persons’ situation throughout the night until the group could be reached by helicopter early this morning.

Shortly after dawn, a National Airborne Service Corps helicopter was dispatched from Hualien City. In windy conditions, the 16 people were airlifted in two batches to Nan’ao Township around 10 kilometers away, where they transferred to ambulances.

The age of the adults ranged from 25 to 46 years old, and the youngest of the five children was just nine months old. There were also four dogs accompanying the group. The rescue operation concluded at 6:58 am.

One mother and child suffered minor abrasions to their faces, and a pregnant women was treated for symptoms of shock.

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