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Vietnamese American visits Taiwan to find his saviours

2018/05/01 22:44:56

Huang Tsung-shun (黃宗舜, left) and Thai-Nguyen Dang

Taipei, May 1 (CNA) A Vietnamese American who was saved by a Taiwanese fishing vessel 40 years ago as he and his friends were fleeing the Cambodian-Vietnamese War came to Taiwan to look for his saviours and was reunited in Kaohsiung Tuesday with an officer of the vessel.

It was July 1978 when Thai-Nguyen Dang, his brother and 27 classmates fled Vietnam during the Cambodian-Vietnamese War on a small boat into the South China Sea.

According to Dang, the boat was experiencing problems and could have sunk if it were not for the Taiwanese fishing boat nearby that picked the 29 passengers up.

40 years later, Dang, a businessman in the United States, came to Taiwan in search of the crew that saved him.

Through the help of the media, Huang Tsung-shun (黃宗舜), radio officer of the "Okawa 1" (大川一號), was contacted by the Kaohsiung City government and met Dang.

Upon seeing Huang, Dang sank to his knees in tears, thanking the man for saving his life.

It turned out that when Huang and the ship's captain, Sung Chin-an (宋謹安), reported the incident to the fishing vessel's company, they were told to decide for themselves how to address the situation.

Huang said that Sung therefore decided to let the 29 refugees stay aboard and took them to Singapore, all the while feeding them and meeting their needs.

The 29 Vietnamese ultimately disembarked onto Bintan Island in Indonesia, he said.

Upon hearing that Sung had passed away nine years ago, Dang said that he is going to make a sculpture in the captain's image and promised to take care of Sung's family and former crew.

Dang, who was to leave Taiwan Tuesday, is scheduled to visit Kaohsiung again this July to meet up with Sung's wife and children.

(By Wang Shwu-fen and Kuan-lin Liu)