A woman on a river tubing trip drowned near Fonglin's Zhongxing Bridge on July 19 after getting caught under a tetrapod. As river tubing is relatively new in Taiwan, there are no regulations or safety guidelines.
Tourists stand on the riverbank, unsure what to do after a member of their group fell into the river.
Kao Tzu-hsiang, 2nd District HQ Deputy Chief, Fire Department, Hualien County: “The victim was dead on arrival. We tried to resuscitate her with an AED, CPR and a LUCAS device. We took her to the Fonglin Branch of Taipei Veterans General Hospital.”
The accident occurred at 2 p.m. on the 18th. A group of 19 was on a river tubing trip in Hualien when one member of the group, a 50-year-old Taichung woman surnamed Liu, got separated from the group and subsequently drowned. She had no vital signs when she arrived at the hospital. The legality of the activity is now in question.
Chu Mao-sheng, Chief Detective, Fonglin Police Station: “We have already launched an investigation into this outdoor experience company and its employees. If they were organizing illegal excursions, we will file negligent homicide charges.”
Chen Yung-nan, Tourism Industry Section Chief, Tourism Department, Hualien County: “The company is aboveboard, but it has to bear the responsibility of taking tourists onto the water.”
Officials say river activities in Hualien have not been suspended but excursion companies are required to have tourist insurance. Only two guides were assigned to the group of 19, but it is unclear how many were legally required.