4 anglers dead, 1 critical after being swept out to sea in Yilan

Taipei,  Rogue waves, known locally as “mad dog waves,” swept 10 anglers out to sea on the northeastern coast of Yilan County on Monday, resulting in four deaths and one in critical condition, according to local firefighters.

Yilan firefighters initially rescued nine people and found a 10th several hours later, after receiving a report that a group of anglers had been swept into the sea by extreme waves Monday morning at Daxi fishing port in Toucheng Township.

Although all 10 anglers were rushed to nearby hospitals, four were later pronounced dead, while one other remains in a critical condition, four had non life-threatening injuries and one was released shortly after being rescued, Yilan County Fire Bureau officials said.

Rogue waves are unexpected and sudden appearing surface waves that can be dangerous to ships or people close to the shore.

On Monday, the Central Weather Bureau (CWB) issued an advisory warning about waves up to 2-3 meters in height in New Taipei’s Longdong, Yilan’s Su’ao, Hualien County and Matsu.

Due to the peripheral impact of Tropical Storm Haisen, there have been high waves in waters off Yilan for three days, the CWB weather monitoring station in the northeastern county said Monday.

High waves can become “mad dog waves” under various circumstances, including typhoons and strong northeasterly monsoons.

Such extreme waves, which are most prevalent from June to November in Taiwan, are also common in breakwater areas close to lighthouses, or rock platforms along the coastline, according to the CWB.

Speaking about Monday’s incident, Yilan County agriculture head Kang Li-ho (康立和) said angling is only permitted at two fishing ports in the county and Daxi is not one of them.

Under the Fishing Port Act, anyone who engages in angling in restricted areas is subjected to a fine ranging from NT$30,000 (US$1,023) to NT$150,000, Kang said.

However, in recent years angling groups have more actively campaigned to have their right to fish protected, Kang added.

As a result, coastal patrols generally ask anglers in restricted areas to leave “in a nice way” and as long as they comply do not fine them, he said.


Source: Focus Taiwan News Channel

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