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Missing north Taiwan scuba diver rescued after spending night on Turtle Island

Fishing boat picks up man attempting to swim back to Taiwan

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A fishing boat rescues Shen, who went missing while scuba diving with a friend.

A fishing boat rescues Shen, who went missing while scuba diving with a friend. (CNA photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — A man who spent the night on Turtle Island after losing contact with his friend while scuba diving in Gongliao, was picked up by a fishing boat on Sunday (May 8) as he attempted to swim back to Taiwan.

CNA reported that the 42-year-old man, surnamed Shen (沈), had met up with a friend surnamed Yu (游) to scuba dive on Saturday morning (May 7) in New Taipei City’s Gongliao District. The two agreed to resurface and end the session at noon, but when Yu got back to the shore, Shen was nowhere to be found.

After searching for his friend on his own and failing to find him by 4 p.m., Yu reported the incident to the Coast Guard Administration (CGA) and the local fire department. At around 5 p.m., the CGA and fire department sent personnel, vessels, and a helicopter on a search and rescue mission but were still unable to find Shen by 9 p.m.

On Sunday morning, the search and rescue team resumed its mission, and at 10 a.m., a fishing boat rescued an uninjured and conscious Shen near Turtle Island. Shen was in good health and was not hospitalized, according to CNA.

Shen was cited as saying that he went on shore near the Turtle Island’s head and spent the night on the island. As he was unaware that the CGA had a station at the island’s tail, he had planned to swim to Taiwan in the morning, when he believed currents would be weaker.

However, swimming in the waves soon took a toll on Shen, per the Liberty Times. He said it would have taken him five to six hours to swim all the way back to Taiwan, but thankfully, he came across the fishing boat, which brought him back to Wushi Harbor, Yilan County.