100 Filipino, Indonesian fishermen pray for victims of Taiwan bridge collapse

100 foreign migrant fishermen hold vigil for 6 men who lost their lives in deadly Taiwan bridge collapse

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Candlelight vigil

Candlelight vigil (CNA photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) - Nearly 100 Filipino and Indonesian fishermen gathered in Yilan, Taiwan, on Wednesday (Oct. 2) to pray for fellow migrant fishery workers who were killed when a suspension bridge collapsed on the vessels they were stationed on.

On Wednesday evening, upwards of 100 Filipino and Indonesian fishermen gathered next to Yilan County's Nanfang'ao Fishing Harbor, the scene of the disastrous collapse of Nanfang'ao Bridge on Tuesday (Oct. 1), reported CNA. Nearly 40 Filipino fishermen stood near the site of the disaster, lit candles, and read from the bible, while 60 Indonesians sat on the pier, read from the Quran, and prayed for the fallen fishermen, one of whom was still missing at the time.

One of the confirmed victims at the time was 47-year-old Philippine national Gorge Jagmis Impang. His younger cousin Raniel attended a memorial for Impang that evening, and as he contemplated the fate of his cousin, he could not help but hide his face and cry.


Indonesian men gather to pray. (CNA photo)

Raniel, who also works as a fisherman in Taiwan, told CNA: "Impang was older than me and he taught me a lot on how to act as a person. Even though he was a man of not many words, he was warm-hearted and always loved to help people."

One Philippine fisherman, who did not wish to be named, described to the news agency the horrifying moments when the bridge suddenly caved in. "We survived because we were flung from our boats when the bridge came crashing down. We are very lucky to be alive. However, we lost all of our savings and belongings when the boat went down," said the fisherman.

Allison Lee (李麗華), secretary-general of the Yilan Migrant Fishermen's Union, told the news service that another one of the fallen fishermen, a 32-year-old Indonesian man identified as Ersona, was an active member of the organization. "Ersona was also a very outgoing person who liked to make jokes, and he got along well with the other fishermen," said Lee.


Raniel (center) cries for deceased cousin. (CNA photo)

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.

The five other fishermen who lost their lives in the disaster include 29-year-old Indonesian Wartono, 44-year-old Filipino Serencio Andree Abregana, 32-year-old Indonesian Ersona, 47-year-old Filipino George Jagmis Impang, and 28-year-old Indonesian Mohamad Domiri.


Lee (left), Raniel (center) grieve for fishermen. (CNA photo)