Search underway for 1 missing after 4 crew fall from cargo ship in the Taiwan Strait

Taiwan’s coast guard and National Airborne Service Corps are conducting a sea and air search for a Vietnamese national who went missing after four crew members of a cargo ship fell into the sea off the coast of Yunlin County yesterday, October 17.

The Central Taiwan Maritime Affair Center of the Maritime and Port Bureau said that it received notification from the National Coast Guard Administration at around 6:00 pm yesterday, Monday, that four crew members from the 31,236-ton Vietnamese bulk carrier VIMC SUNRISE had fallen into the sea while attempting to anchor the ship 7 nautical miles west of Mailiao Township at around 5:30 pm.

Other members of the crew of 22 threw lifebuoys into the sea, and three of the crew members were pulled back onto the vessel. Two of the crew had suffered broken legs, and one had a broken arm. However, the fourth man, the chief mate, remained missing.

The coast guard dispatched two patrol ships, and the National Airborne Service Corps sent a helicopter to the area. However, the helicopter was forced to turn back due to high winds with gusts up to 11 on the Beaufort scale. Five-meter swells also hampered the search.

The captain of the freighter decided continue south to get medical help for the injured crew members, and the ship arrived at the Port of Kaohsiung at around 5:00 am this morning.

The air search was resumed this morning, but the crew member remains missing. Sea and weather conditions in the Taiwan Strait are currently under the influence of the northeasterly monsoonal winds combined with Tropical Storm Nesat in the South China Sea.

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