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Ambulance almost washed away by wave in southern Taiwan (video)

2016/09/14 18:24:47

Taipei, Sept. 14 (CNA) An ambulance was nearly swept away by a big wave caused by Typhoon Meranti in Pingtung County on Wednesday, as seen in one of the more dramatic Facebook live videos shot in Taiwan during the powerful storm.

Local resident Shao Kun-tai (邵坤泰) was broadcasting outside a store on the coastline on Facebook Live at around 9:50 a.m. to show the strength of the gusty winds and heavy rain battering Pingtung after many trees on the street had been blown down.

About 30 seconds later, an ambulance appeared on the coastal road in Hengchun Township and a huge wave suddenly swamped the road and almost washed away the ambulance, the video showed.

"The big wave was so unexpected and nearly swept away the vehicle," Shao said. It also engulfed the store where he was standing shortly afterwards.

"I've never seen such a big wave," he said, calling it "really scary."

According to the local fire department, the ambulance was pushed to the other side of the street by the wave but the paramedics in the vehicle were not injured. They were on their way back to their base after conducting a rescue mission, it said.

Hengchun recorded gusts of up to 188 kilometers per hour on Wednesday morning, the strongest recorded by the Hengchun observation station since it was set up in 1896, according to the Central Weather Bureau.

The radius of Meranti covered Hengchun, areas south of Yunlin and Nantou counties and areas south of Hualien County, bringing strong winds and dumping heavy rain in most of southern Taiwan on Wednesday, the bureau said.

As of 4:15 p.m. Wednesday, Meranti was centered 80 kilometers west-northwest of Kaohsiung in southern Taiwan, and was moving at a speed of 18 km per hour in a northwesterly direction, the bureau added.

With a radius of 200 kilometers, the storm was carrying maximum sustained winds of about 184 km per hour, with gusts of up to 227 kph, it said.

(By Chang Ming-kun and Elaine Hou)