Chinese student in Taiwan disappears while snorkeling in Indonesia

Zhang Qiujue, 26, who was studying at National Tsing Hua University has been missing for a week

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Missing student Zhang Qiujue

Missing student Zhang Qiujue (By Central News Agency)

TAIPEI (CNA) -- A Chinese graduate student at Taiwan's National Tsing Hua University disappeared during a snorkeling excursion off the Indonesian island of Gili Air last week, according to a local search and rescue team.

Zhang Qiujue (張秋玨), 26, who was studying at the university's Institute of Sociology and Anthropology, went missing during a snorkeling outing Dec. 9 off the coast of Lombok, the school's student affairs dean Hsieh Hsiao-chin (謝小芩) confirmed Saturday.

Search efforts were continuing Saturday targeting areas north and east of Gili Air, according to the Indonesian rescue team.

It said that if they cannot find her after seven days of search, they will stop the search work in accordance with standard operating procedures, although they might consider extending the search by three days, based on the actual situation.

Meanwhile, Kuan An-lu (管安露), a spokesperson for Taiwan's semi-official Straits Exchange Foundation (SEF), said the SEF has informed its Chinese counterpart, the Association for Relations Across the Taiwan Straits (ARATS), of the matter and has asked Taiwan's representative office in Indonesia to provide assistance.

After the SEF received a report on the incident from the university, it notified Taiwan's Ministry of Education, the Mainland Affairs Council and ARATS, according to Kuan.

The SEF said that Zhang's father had learned of the matter and had traveled to the Indonesian island to deal with the matter.

Zhang was enrolled at the university in 2016 and was in her third year in the graduate school, said Chen Chung-min (陳中民), Zhang's thesis advisor.

According to Facebook posts by Zhang's relatives and classmates, she left Taiwan Nov. 30 and stayed at her home in Shanghai for one day before heading to Indonesia to attend activities hosted by her artist friends in the country.

Her relatives lost contact with Zhang Dec. 7.

Asyraf, a Moroccan, along with Zhang and another tourist, went snorkeling Dec. 9 but when Asyraf returned to the beach, he did not see Zhang and only managed to find her clothing, bag and mobile phone, according to the Facebook message.

Asyraf reported the case to Indonesian police after he went to the home of Zhang's host family in Indonesia and failed to find her.