17-year-old sur­vives af­ter twenty-one hours at sea

The China Post - - LOCAL - BY BRIAN LIN,

A 17-year-old fe­male stu­dent who spent 21 hours adrift at sea off the north­ern coast called home af­ter a mirac­u­lous res­cue yes­ter­day.

Zhang Hui-yu and three male com­pan­ions were thrown off a ba­nana boat five min­utes af­ter they took off from Repulse Bay in New Taipei City’s Sanzhi Dis­trict at around 7 p.m. on Mon­day. The three men were able to swim back to the shore but they were un­able to find Zhang.

They called po­lice af­ter 50 min­utes of search­ing.

Res­cuers launched mul­ti­ple sea and air mis­sions but were un­able to find Zhang. Dis­traught fam­ily mem­bers feared the worst and hung a T-shirt worn by Zhang at the beach in a tra­di­tional Chi­nese rit­ual to show souls lost at sea the way home.

Zhang, who had been wear­ing a life vest, was picked up by a fish­ing boat off Keelung, one nau­ti­cal mile from where she was thrown off, at around 5 p.m. yes­ter­day.

She broke the good news of her sur­vival to her par­ents on a cell­phone bor­rowed from a crew mem­ber. She was sent di­rectly to MacKay Me­mo­rial Hos­pi­tal af­ter reach­ing the shore. De­spite spend­ing al­most a day adrift at sea, Zhang was in rel­a­tively good shape and ap­par­ently suf­fered only from slight de­hy­dra­tion and sun­burn.

Chen Jin-ji, cap­tain of the fish­ing boat, told a lo­cal TV news chan­nel that he was only able to res­cue Zhang be­cause she was just 10 me­ters away from his ves­sel and she was yelling for help. It is a “rare” res­cue against the odds, he said.

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