Update: 6 Filipino, Indonesian workers perish after NE Taiwan bridge collapse

3 Filipino, 3 Indonesian fishermen found dead after bridge collapse in Yilan, Taiwan

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(CNA photo)

Update: 10/03 12:40 p.m.

At 11 a.m. on Thursday (Oct. 3), the body of the sixth and final missing fisherman was found. The Manila Economic and Cultural Office (MECO) Labor Center identified the deceased Philippine national as Romulo Illustrimo Escalicas Jr.

Update: 10/02 4:30 p.m.

At 2:27 p.m. on Wednesday (Oct. 2), the body of a fifth missing fishery worker has been found beside the fishing vessel Hsin Tai Sheng No. 366 (新臺勝366號), reported UDN. The man has since been identified as 28-year-old Indonesian Mohamad Domiri.

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — Four foreign migrant fishery workers, including two Filipinos and two Indonesians, have been found dead in the 24 hours since a suspension bridge collapsed in northeastern Taiwan's Yilan County on Tuesday morning (Oct. 1).

At around 9:30 a.m. on Tuesday, the Nanfang'ao Bridge in Yilan's Su'ao Township suddenly gave way, injuring more than 20 people, reported UDN. As it fell, the bridge crushed three fishing boats beneath it, injuring and trapping a number of migrant fishermen on board the vessels.

The Yilan County Fire Bureau said 10 people were sent to nearby hospitals, including six with serious injuries and four with minor injuries, according to UDN. Six foreign fishermen were believed to be trapped in the fishing boats under the bridge.


Scene of the disaster. (CNA photo)

An intensive search began on Tuesday for the missing fishermen. At 11:18 p.m. on Tuesday, the remains of a 29-year-old Indonesian man identified as "Wartono" were found under the collapsed bridge, reported CNA.

At 11:34 p.m., the body of a 44-year-old Filipino man, Serencio Andree Abregana, was found nearby. The body of a 32-year-old Indonesian man identified as "Ersona" was found at 1:31 a.m. Wednesday morning, according to the report.

The remains of a fourth migrant worker were found at 8:45 a.m. on Wednesday morning. The deceased was identified as Filipino Impang George Jagmis, 47, reported CNA.


Migrant workers tossing joss paper. (CNA photo)

With tears in their eyes, the victims' fellow workers at the scene tossed joss paper from the shore. Many covered their faces in shock and anguish and wept for their fallen countrymen.

Hsu Kuo-yung (徐國勇), Taiwan's Interior Minister, told reporters that the fishing net had become entangled with the boat in which the fishermen were believed to be trapped. Because the fishing net was one to two kilometers in length, it dragged the boat down and prevented divers from quickly reaching the crew members inside.

Hsu said that the hull of the ship sank to the sea floor and got stuck under the pier, thus rescue efforts were hindered by nightfall and the rising tide. Originally, search and rescue personnel had hoped to find the men during low tide at around 2 a.m., but they were unable to locate them.


Migrant worker at pier mourning the loss of his countrymen. (CNA photo)

Rescuers are hoping that better visibility during the day and the deployment of a floating pontoon bridge by the Army will help speed up the search for the two fishermen who remain missing.


Pontoon bridge being deployed by Army. (CNA photo)