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44 rescued after research ship sinks off Taiwan's Penghu islands

2014/10/11 00:35:04

Taipei, Oct. 11 (CNA) Forty-four of the 45 people on board a research vessel that sank off the coast of Taiwan's outlying islands of Penghu have been rescued by late Friday, but one other person remained missing, according to the Coast Guard Administration (CGA).

Among those rescued, one was pronounced dead upon arrival at hospital, the agency said as search and rescue efforts continued Friday night.

The CGA said the RV Ocean Researcher 5 may have run into a reef when it was sailing off Lungmen, Penghu Friday afternoon.

The 45 people on board were stranded after the ship tilted toward one side and began to take in water. It sank at 8:11 p.m, and many of the people on board scrambled onto rubber rafts to row to safety, the agency said.

Those aboard included researchers from Academia Sinica, the Taiwan Typhoon and Flood Research Institute under the National Applied Research Laboratories, and graduate students from National Taiwan Ocean University, National Yang Ming University, Yunlin University of Science and Technology and National Chengkung University.

The ship departed from Tainan's Anping Harbor on Thursday and was scheduled to return on Oct. 16.

Four GGA vessels, four Navy frigates, four Air Force helicopters and a transport plane rushed to the scene of the accident not long after the ill-fated research ship started sinking.

The NT$1.46 billion (US$47.98 million), 2,700-ton RV OR5 built by Taiwan has a maximum speed of 12 knots and belongs to the Ministry of Science and Technology's National Applied Research Laboratories.

The eight-day mission was aimed at learning about the pollutants in the atmosphere and how they move through the air.

(By Chen Chi-fong and Lilain Wu; click here for the updated story)