Two travelers fall off fishing boat and drown near Penghu

Trawler was carrying 21 tourists from Huayu to main island

(By Central News Agency)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) – Two tourists traveling on a fishing trawler in Penghu (澎湖) fell overboard and drowned, reports said Saturday.

Some commentators blamed the accident on a decision by the Penghu County Government to relax restrictions on the ferrying of passengers between the archipelago’s islands by fishing boats in order to relief transportation problems.

The fishing trawler “Lien Te Li No.2” (聯得利二號) reportedly left the remote western island of Huayu (花嶼) for Penghu’s main town of Magong (馬公) around 5:30 Saturday morning with 21 passengers on board.

Barely half an hour into the journey, strong winds and rough seas battered the ship, causing two men, Yen Chiu-hsiung (顏秋雄), 72, and Feng Wen-yuan (馮文淵), 61, to lose their footing and fall overboard. By the time they were pulled out of the water, they were showing no signs of life anymore, reports said.

The two men had been heading back to Magong to board a flight home to Tainan. Two other men, surnamed Chuang and Liu, were seriously injured during the trip and would have to be transported to Magong for further care, reports said.

After the accident, the fishing vessel headed back to Huayu, where the remaining 17 passengers were still waiting on other transportation Saturday afternoon to head home.

Because there are no regular tourism ferries to Huayu, the Penghu County Government reportedly allowed fishing trawlers with a minimum capacity of eight people and a minimum weight of around 20 tons to ply the route and carry travelers. However, no seating nor life jackets were provided, reports said.