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June 23, 2017

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Fisherman rescued after 4 days adrift

TAIPEI--The captain of a Pingtung-registered fishing raft was rescued yesterday after drifting at sea for four days during which he survived on raw fish and a small amount of water.

Ku Tiang-fu set sail on April 25 from a port along the county's southeastern coast for a day of fishing but ended up drifting at sea after his power-driven raft suffered a mechanical failure and the battery ran out of power.

He did not have a communication device with him and was unable to contact anybody on shore.

On April 27, Ku was reported missing to police by his family, leading the Coast Guard Administration (CGA) to organize a search for the fishing raft.

The Coast Guard dispatched 21 vessels and sent out reconnaissance aircraft four times over the two days without success, until Ku was spotted by the Coast Guard using a telescope at around 8 a.m. Tuesday 0.5 kilometers off the coast of the county's Syuhai village.

"I felt I was tugged by the sea in all directions. I saw Orchid Island twice and it seems like I went as far as Hualien Harbor. I really want to thank Coast Guard officers for rescuing me," Ku said after being found alive after drifting at sea for 80 hours.

Ku, who suffered slight dehydration, was sent to the hospital for treatment.

According to Ku, he survived by eating the raw fish he caught and used sea water to rinse the mouth after using up all of the bottled water he brought.

He said that at one point he spotted a fishing boat and a helicopter passing by and sought help by waving a red bag on his raft but to no avail.

Another fishing boat sailed nearby but Ku said that with his raft out of power, he could not get close enough to the vessel to get its attention.

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