Five people drown in four separate incidents on first day of hot, four-day-long holiday

Five people are reported to have died by drowning in four separate incidents around Taiwan on the first day of the four-day Dragon Boat Festival long weekend.

Drowning incidents occurred in Pingtung County, Miaoli County, Hsinchu County, and New Taipei City, yesterday, June 25.

Two high school students drown in Hsinchu County

At around 2:00 pm yesterday, four 17-year-old male high school students decided to go for a swim in the Youluo River under Neiwan Bridge in Hengshan Township, Hsinchu County. At first the four waded in the shallows, but two of the boys ventured into deeper water and got into difficulties.

A third student stated that he tried to help them, but began sinking, and was lucky to have made it back to shore, according to ET Today.

The students called emergency services, and rescue personnel from the Hsinchu County Fire Department located the bodies of the two boys at a depth of around three meters shortly after 3:00 pm. The boys were holding each other in a tight embrace, the firefighters told ET Today. They were unable to be resuscitated, and were declared dead after arrival at the hospital.

The Hsinchu County Government stated that the Youluo River underneath the Neiwan Bridge is a dangerous water area. All water activities are prohibited, and there are signs at either end of the bridge warning not to enter the water.

search and rescue personnel search for missing students suspected drowned
Search and rescue personnel search for two 17-year-old boys who went missing while swimming in the Youluo River. Picture: Hsinchu County Fire Bureau.

Man drowns in New Taipei City while practicing snorkeling

A 27-year-old man died while practicing snorkeling in a natural pool below Wang-gu Waterfall in Pingxi District. Many tourists were reported to have been bathing in the pool at the time, but nobody noticed the drowning incident.

Mr Lin was with four other family members at the time, including his parents. After his father noticed Lin was missing, at around 3:45 pm, Lin senior called emergency services. Rescuers from the New Taipei City Fire Bureau spent around one hour searching for Lin, finally locating his lifeless body in the two-to-three-meter-deep water. Lin still had the snorkel in his mouth.

Rescuers noted that Lin had around 1,500 cc of water in his lungs, United Daily News reported.

Wang-gu Waterfall, Pingxi District, New Taipei City
Wang-gu Waterfall, Pingxi District, New Taipei City. Picture: New Taipei City Fire Bureau.

Woman drowns while snorkeling in Pingtung County

Also yesterday, June 25, a 38-year-old woman drowned while snorkeling on Xiaoliuqiu Island, Taiwan’s Central News Agency (CNA) reported. The woman’s boyfriend was waiting on the beach as he couldn’t swim. When the woman failed to return to shore, the man searched for 15 minutes before notifying a coast guard officer.

Coast guard personnel found the woman adjacent to the Sanfu Fishing Port, but the woman had lost vital signs and did not respond to resuscitation efforts.

Coast guard personnel give CPR to drowning victim on Xiaoliuqiu Island
Coast Guard Officers attempt to resuscitate a woman who drowned while snorkeling on Xiaoliuqiu Island in Pingtung County, Taiwan, June 25, 2020.

Angler drowns in Miaoli County

A 48-year-old man is suspected to have drowned while attempting to free a snagged fishing line in a stream in Miaoli County. Emergency services received reports that a man was drowning shortly before noon.

By the time rescue personnel arrived at the remote location, upstream from the Shui-yun Suspension Bridge in Tai-an Township, the man was missing. Search and rescue divers found the man’s body at around 2:50 pm.

search and rescue personnel drag waterhole for missing man
Search and rescue personnel at the scene of a drowning in Miaoli County, June 25, 2020. Picture: Miaoli County Fire Bureau.

Despite Taiwan being surrounded by ocean, and criss-crossed by fast-flowing streams, the population has a notoriously low level of swimming ability. The rate of death by drowning is nearly three times that of neighbor Japan, according to this report, and the death rate by drowning among children is more than three times that of Australia.

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