Taoyuan Ghost Festival accident leaves 3 dead, 1 in coma

Three men have died while another has been left in a coma after being swept out to sea while taking part in a Ghost Festival ritual at a harbor in Taoyuan, according to the local fire department Sunday.

The accident reportedly took place late Saturday, as the men returned to shore after wading out into the waters near Yongan Fishing Port in Taoyuan's Xinwu District to perform a ritual to send away the evils and diseases while praying for peace and good fortune.

According to the Taoyuan Fire Department, large waves caused several members of the 20 or so people taking part in the ritual to lose their footing.

One of the deceased, a 27-year-old man surnamed Chen (?), was pulled from the water by firefighters, who received an emergency call at 11:37 p.m.

The bodies of a 30-year-old surnamed Lu (?), and a 15-year-old boy surnamed Chi (?) were not found by firefighters until the early hours of Sunday.

A 46-year-old man surnamed Chan (?), who was in a stable condition at the time he was rescued, suddenly fell into a coma while en route to hospital and is currently under observation in an intensive care unit.

The local fire department said that none of the participants had been wearing life jackets or other safety gear, adding that the police and the Coast Guard Administration were still investigating the cause of the accident.

Source: Focus Taiwan News Channel