Woman swept away on Taiwan east coast amid Typhoon Mangkhut sea warning

Even though the storm is heading for the Philippines, authorities still warn against visiting beaches

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Waves in Taitung County on Taiwan's east coast Friday.

Waves in Taitung County on Taiwan's east coast Friday. (By Central News Agency)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) - A woman was swept away by a three-meter wave off the coast of Yilan County Friday after sea warnings were issued as Super Typhoon Mangkhut (山竹) moved closer.

While the storm was heading for the Philippines’s northern island of Luzon, heavy rain was still expected to hit southern and eastern parts of Taiwan from Friday evening until Sunday, the Central Weather Bureau said.

The missing woman was part of a group of five women who were visiting the Fenniaolin (粉鳥林) beach in the township of Su’ao Friday afternoon. She was named as Chen Hsuan-ju (陳鉉濡), 30, a teacher at a junior high school in Tainan City.

The emergency services mobilized a helicopter and Coast Guard vessels, while a local radio station called for attention from fishing trawlers passing in the area.

However, no sign of the woman was found during the afternoon and evening, possibly due to rough seas carrying her away from the coast, the Liberty Times reported.

Earlier this month, seven people lost their lives on other beaches in Yilan County, leading the authorities to call for more caution by the public.

While Mangkhut was no longer going to approach Taiwan, it was still bringing strong waves to the shores of the island, with even fishermen fearing to go out to sea, according to the Liberty Times.

Airlines also announced limited changes to their services for Saturday, with flights to and from Macau, Hong Kong and Fukuoka undergoing some changes, the Central News Agency reported.

As the typhoon was advancing relatively rapidly, the current sea warnings around Taiwan might be lifted late on Saturday, reports said.