UPDATE (3:54 p.m.): An earlier version of this article reported that one missing person was an 18-year-old woman. It was later confirmed that she was actually a 12-year-old junior high school student. This article has been corrected to reflect the most recent reporting on the incident.
TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — Strong waves on Taiwan’s east coast, caused by Typhoon Mawar, led to two separate incidents of people being swept out to sea on Sunday (May 28) morning, with one person still missing in Yilan, and one person reported dead in Hualien.
A young girl is missing after she and a 25-year-old surnamed Chang (張) were both swept into the ocean on Sunday morning, while visiting Neipi Beach, also known as Lover’s Bay, in Yilan County. The man was able to safely return to shore, but the girl was swept out to sea, reported UDN.
The girl was spotted about 60 or 70 meters out at sea before she disappeared. The Yilan County Fire Department received a distress call at 8:30 a.m. that the girl was missing. A drone camera was dispatched to survey the area and local fishing vessels were also notified to help with the search.
Initially, the man told responders that his companion was 18-years-old. However, it was later reported by TVBS that the man and the girl met on a dating app called Lemo on Sunday morning, and that she was in fact a first-year junior high student.
In a separate incident in Hualien County’s Xincheng Township, three elementary students were playing at the beach and one of them was caught in a strong undercurrent and carried out to sea. One of the boys tried to help his friend, but was also caught in the large waves, reported SETN.
The third boy immediately rushed home to inform his parents, who called local authorities for help. One of the students, a boy surnamed Chou (周), was rescued by a patrol boat around 12 p.m. However, the second child swept out to sea.
UPDATE (8:39 p.m.): On Sunday afternoon, the child reported missing in Hualien was found on shore shortly after 3 p.m. but had no vital signs. The 13-year-old boy was rushed to a hospital, but declared dead at 3:57 p.m., reported LTN.
Waves on Sunday morning along Taiwan’s east coast were reportedly three to four meters high in some areas.
Typhoon Mawar could bring rain and strong winds to northern Taiwan over the next 48 hours. Strong waves are expected along Taiwan’s east coast throughout Sunday and Monday (May 29). Authorities warn people visiting the beach to be careful and avoid swimming or fishing in dangerous conditions.