Two Vietnamese nationals died when an inflatable raft overturned while attempting to land on a beach in Taitung County this morning. Another 3 illegal immigrants, and two Taiwanese people-smugglers were arrested after a search of the area.
Coast Guard officers from Kaohsiung intercepted a fishing boat carrying 16 Vietnamese at around 2:30am, 12.5 nautical miles off the east coast of Pingtung County.
Meanwhile, at around 2:17am, officers of the coast guard’s 10th squadron in Taitung County detected by radar a fast-moving small craft around 4 nautical miles off the coast near Renxiang Township. Coast Guard officers monitored the vessel’s movements and dispatched shore patrols.
A shore patrol found two people on the shore at Tawa Creek beach at around 4:00am. The pair had no signs of breathing or heartbeat were later declared dead in hospital after failing to respond to CPR.
It is suspected that the inflatable boat was being used to ferry illegal immigrants from the fishing boat intercepted by the Kaohsiung Coast Guard. Investigators believe that the people smugglers originally intended to land on the west coast, but due to stepped-up patrols, diverted to the east coast. The traffickers are suspected to have been unfamiliar with the conditions on the east coast, leading to the boat overturning in coastal surf.
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