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Doctoral student drowns off Dongsha Island: CGA

KAOHSIUNG -- A candidate for doctoral degree in marine science at National Sun Yat-sen University in Kaohsiung died Tuesday after being rescued from waters off Dongsha Island in the South China Sea, where he was reported missing.

The student, identified by the authorities only by his surname of Ho, was snorkeling off the largest island of the Taiwan-governed Pratas Islands, called the Dongsha Islands in Taiwan, along with a professor and three foreign researchers, collecting seawater and seaweed samples for research, according to the Coast Guard Administration (CGA).

The CGA's Dongsha management station received a call reporting Ho missing and requesting help at around 10 a.m., said Hu Chung-an, deputy chief of the CGA Southern Coastal Patrol Office.

The CGA deployed a total of 46 people, a helicopter and several patrol boats on the search mission. Ho was still conscious when he was recovered from the water after two hours of search.

He was rushed to the only hospital on Dongsha Island, where he later died, Hu said.

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