3 in critical condition in Navy drill accident in southern Taiwan (update)

07/03/2020 03:01 PM
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Major General Lin Chuan-sheng (林傳盛) / CNA photo July 3, 2020
Major General Lin Chuan-sheng (林傳盛) / CNA photo July 3, 2020

Update: July 5-One of three Marine soldiers critically wounded in landing drill dies

Kaohsiung, July 3 (CNA) Two military officers and one soldier are in critical condition and a female sergeant is recovering at Kaohsiung Armed Forces General Hospital's Zuoying branch after their small boat capsized in waters off Kaohsiung during a Navy landing drill Friday morning.

A dinghy operated by the 99th Brigade of the Republic of China Marine Corps with seven people aboard overturned in rough waves a few hundred yards off Taoziyuan beach in Zuoying at around 9 a.m., a spokesman for the Marine Corps said.

All seven aboard fell into the water. Four of the seven were rushed to the hospital, while the three others came away unscathed and returned to their barracks, Major General Lin Chuan-sheng (林傳盛) told the press outside the hospital.

The three people in critical condition were hospitalized with drowning-related conditions, according to the hospital.

Two of the three -- a 36-year-old sergeant and a 26-year-old soldier -- were undergoing emergency treatment while the third, a 34-year-old sergeant, showed signs of stabilizing after being given extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO), the hospital said.

Initial indications are that the accident was due to sudden winds and changes in the waves, according to Lin, but he said the actual cause will not be known until the Navy Command Headquarters and the Marine Corps Command have completed their investigation.

The drill, which was being held to prepare for the annual Han Kuang military exercises that are slated to take place July 13-17, was not suspended because of the accident, Lin added.

Meanwhile, President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) hoped those injured would be "safe and sound."

(By Chen Chao-fu and Elizabeth Hsu)

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