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September 22, 2017

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8 Taiwanese die in SE Asia boat tragedies

At least eight Taiwanese tourists were killed in two boat accidents in Vietnam and the Philippines, yesterday.

Five Taiwanese tourists died in a trip-turned-tragedy boat accident in Ha Long Bay, Vietnam. Thirty-six people were onboard when the boat capsized after colliding with a larger vessel around 4 p.m., according to the Tourism Bureau.

The passengers onboard were employees of Kaohsiung-based company Wang Li Xing (旺利興) and their family members.

The identified victims of the accident are as follows: Chen Yi-chiu (陳義久), aged 69, male; Lee Hui-chen (李蕙真), 36, female; Huang Feng-chin (黃鳳琴), 58, female; Huang Hsuan-chi (黃宣綺), 9, female; and Kung Fang-ju (龔芳如), 34, female. The tourists were led by tour guide Chiu Si-zong (邱思宗) from the Life Tour tourism agency (五福旅行社).

General Manager of the Life Tour tourism agency Chen Tian-cai (陳天財) said that the passengers were moving from a larger vessel to a small-sized boat when a cruise ship ran into them.

"We are actively dealing with the situation now. The surviving tourists have been taken into care and are safe now," said Chen.

The group was scheduled to return to Taiwan on Oct. 5. Members of the group were insured by FuBon (富邦) Travel Insurance. Accidents and deaths can be insured against for up to NT$2 million, according to the Tourism Bureau.

Capsized Boat Kills 3 in Philippines

In a separate incident, three Taiwanese tourists drowned in waters off Boracay, the Philipines, as a bangka, a traditional Philippine boat, capsized due to strong winds and waves, yesterday afternoon.

The bangka, the major mode of transportation in waters off Boracay, was reportedly carrying around 30 Taiwanese tourists and six Filipino crew members. Taiwanese representative to the Philippines Raymond Wang (王樂生) said that the boat capsized due to strong winds and waves. The identified victims are Lai Yu-mei (賴玉妹), aged 69, and Zhang Ai-ling (張愛玲), 48, mother and daughter respectively, as well as 2-year-old infant Chen Si-qing (陳思晴).

Beaufort Tourist Agency (百福旅遊) Vice General Manager Jin Gong-quan (金拱泉) said that the incident had occurred when the tourists were being shuttled back to their hotels right after lunch. The boat was already very close to port when a sudden downpour of rain drenched one side of the vessel, causing the passengers to gather on the other side, thereby tilting the boat, which, compounded by strong waves and winds, eventually capsized.

The accident occurred around 2 p.m. in the vicinity of Crocodile Island in Barangay Tambisaan, Malay municipality, Aklan province. The Taiwanese tourists had purchased a travel package, including tickets and accommodation, through the Taiwan-based travel agency; the package did not provide a tour guide.

The Beaufort Tourist Agency will lend its assistance to the families of the victims, according to the Tourism Bureau.

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