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Non-swimmer survives 60 hours adrift

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IOL mot jan6 rough sea

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File photo: Reuters

Taipei - A Taiwanese man has miraculously survived a 60-hour ordeal drifting in rough seas off the island's east coast even though he cannot swim, local media reported on Monday.

Tseng Lien-fa was catching baby eels on a beach in Hualien county early Friday when he was swept away by an unexpectedly large wave.

“I managed to hold on as the first wave hit me on the chest, but I was overwhelmed by the second and bigger wave,” the 42-year-old told the United Daily News.

Media reports said Tseng managed to grab a floating wooden coffin lid to which he clung until early Sunday. There was no explanation of why the lid was present in the sea.

“On the lid, I was drifting and drifting ... during that period I hoped I could be picked up by any ships passing by,” he said.

Strong waves eventually swept him onto a beach in the southeastern county of Taitung, 75 kilometres away from where his ordeal began, the reports said.

Coastguards mobilised to search for Tseng found him lying on the beach around noon Sunday.

Doctors said he had suffered slight dehydration and developed sores on his arms due to seawater immersion.

“Considering the fact that he had not taken in any food or water while drifting at sea for 60 hours and he remained conscious, all I could say about him was that this was a miracle,” said Chen Tien-su, a doctor at Hualien Hospital.

Tseng had been catching eels to make extra money since his fiancee is expecting a baby next month.

He has now promised her the fishing expeditions will stop. -Sapa-AFP


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