Taiwanese search and rescue personnel have found the bodies of two of three missing Indonesian crew members of a fishing vessel that was crushed under a collapsing bridge in northeastern Taiwan, the Indonesian Foreign Ministry has confirmed.
“The two of them were found dead and have been taken to a veteran’s hospital in Yilan. The Taiwan authorities are still looking for one missing citizen,” the ministry’s director for citizen protection, Judha Nugraha, said on Wednesday morning.
The bridge collapsed into the harbor of Nanfang’ao in Yilan county, about 62 kilometers north of Taipei, on Tuesday, crushing several fishing boats, with some crew members feared trapped, authorities said. They said four people had died.
Reuters reported that the collapse of the bridge, which carried traffic over the busy fishing port, damaged three fishing boats and two vehicles, including an oil tanker truck, officials said, although the reason for the collapse in calm weather was not immediately clear.
Late on Monday, typhoon Mitag, packing maximum winds of 162 kilometers per hour (kph), swept past northeastern Taiwan, injuring 12 people and cutting power to more than 66,000 homes, with more than 150 flights canceled.
Judha said that according to the Indonesian Economic and Trade Office (IETO) in Taiwan, four other Indonesians were also injured in the incident.
He said the ministry had coordinated with the workplace of the deceased to prepare for the repatriation of their bodies and to facilitate the rights of the other victims.
“All Indonesian citizens, both injured and dead, are Indonesian migrant workers who were officially working as crew on fishing vessels owned by Taiwan,” he said.
The rare incident shocked many in Taiwan, which is regularly hit by earthquakes and typhoons and has high building standards, prompting authorities to launch a review of all old bridges.
The government has set up a task force to investigate, with President Tsai Ing-wen vowing not to evade responsibility, Reuters reported.
“Nanfangao Bridge was regularly checked and maintained,” the Taiwan International Ports Corporation (TIPC), which managed the bridge’s maintenance, said in a statement, adding that it had observed safety regulations.
The bridge was last reinforced in 2018 and another security check was due next year, the company said. Problems such as rusty steel and cracks in concrete had been fixed during a check last October, it added.