Red Brick Daily

A 23-year-old local tourist in Kenting got into difficulty while scuba diving near the Houbihu marina around 1 p.m. on Thursday, September 1, 2016. The unnamed man was pulled from the water by rescue workers but was unfortunately pronounced dead on arrival at a local hospital.

Just an hour before the scuba diver’s death, the 9-year-old daughter of a Chinese tourist couple was swept out to sea by a wave as she played on the beach in front of the Howard resort in Kenting.

The girl’s mom, a 29-year-old woman surnamed Liao, jumped into the water to rescue her daughter but was unable to fight the currents. Liao’s husband then also leapt in and, thankfully, he was able to pull his wife and daughter out of the water.

Liao and her daughter were rushed to the small hospital in Hengchun and after emergency treatment, the child regained consciousness. Sadly, Mrs. Liao is still reportedly in critical condition.

These are not the first incidents in Kenting this year and are unlikely to be the last. A lack of a “swimming culture” in Taiwan means many people here are poor swimmers. An understanding of ocean currents and other beach safety issues is also frequently lacking.

Lessons here: 1. Beachgoers need to treat the ocean with respect. 2. The authorities should re-evaluate beach lifeguards and their training. 3. Taiwan needs to continue recent advances in promoting swimming lessons and water safety courses.

Far too many people drown in Taiwan each year, which is an island nation filled with rivers, streams, and waterways. These deaths are almost always sadly unnecessary.

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*Photo via the Pingtung County Fire Department