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Drowned fireman passes away at home

Family chooses to take firefighter off respirator after training session renders him brain dead

Drowned fireman passes away at home

The 27 year-old firefighter, Han Hung-yu, who became brain dead last month after being submerged several times by a swimming instructor during a training session held by the Taipei County Fire Department, died yesterday at his home in Kaohsiung when his family decided to take him off the respirator.
Han Hung-teh, the victim's older brother and the family's spokesperson holds the fire department responsible for his younger brother's death and accused the department of lying when it told his family he had drowned himself during the training.
The older brother also said the decision to take Han off life support was made after he was found to be bleeding from the ears on Thursday.
Dressed in his fireman uniform and accompanied by his immediate family members and 20 of his colleagues from the fire department, Han was brought back to Kaohsiung County from National Taiwan University Hospital yesterday morning by his family who wanted him to spend his last Mid-autumn Festival at home.
The bereaved family said the swim instructor as well as the rest of the fire department owe them an apology.
"There were at least 10 certified lifeguards at the pool during the training session, yet no one bothered to help him when he was struggling for his life," said the brother.
However, the brother said he has a video recording that shows his younger brother was pushed underwater repeatedly by two swim instructors despite the fact he appeared to be extremely weak and unable to breathe.
The fire department admitted that Han had asked for a break after he had already run 8,000 meters and swum 600 meters prior to the underwater test. The instructors reportedly refused to give him a break and insisted on going ahead with the test.
"The fire department obviously lied about my brother's death. At first, the department only showed me the footage of them trying to resuscitate my brother. But days later, I received another video in the mail showing the instructor pushing him underwater over and over again," Han Hung-teh said, adding that his entire family is grateful for a lifeguard nicknamed "A-Guo" for sending the video to them.
Fire department director Yen Chen-jia who was dismissed last Saturday, defended the department and himself by saying "tough" lifesaving training was crucial for all firefighting personnel.
However, he agreed that the instructor did not tell the truth on how Han died until the video of the fatal underwater test was made public.
"We urge the prosecutors to go after those who are responsible for my brother's death. We also demand an apology from the instructor and the fire department chief," said Han Hung-teh.
The county government on Monday said that Han's family would receive around NT$7 million (US$212,600) in compensation for Han's death.


Updated : 2021-05-17 21:27 GMT+08:00