2 killed after research vessel capsizes off Penghu

Updated: 2014-10-11 17:31


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TAIPEI - A maritime research vessel capsized near Taiwan's outlying islands of Penghu late Friday, leaving two killed and dozens injured, according to Taiwan's transport authority on Saturday.

The 2,700-ton vessel carrying 45 people is believed to have run into a reef before capsizing in stormy waters late Friday, the transport authority said at a press conference.

The 27 researchers and 18 crew members on board were stranded after the ship tilted toward one side and began to take on water. Several passengers managed to scramble onto rubber rafts to row to safety.

Taiwan's rescue boats and helicopters found all 45 people, but two researchers were pronounced dead after medical treatment. Among the survivors, 5 were in critical condition, 13 mildly injured.

Investigation into the cause to the accident is still under way, and results may be released within two weeks, according to the authority.

The 1.46 billion new Taiwan dollars ($47.98 million) RV Ocean Researcher 5 built by Taiwan was the island's largest maritime research vessel, with a maximum range of 13,000 nautical miles (24,076 km) for a single expedition.

The two-year-old ship departed from Tainan's Anping Harbor on Thursday and was scheduled to return on Oct 16. The eight-day mission was aimed at learning about the pollutants in the atmosphere and how they move through the air.