Taiwanese man rescued after being adrift 55 hours

Jan. 7, 2014 at 9:16 AM

HUALIEN, Taiwan, Jan. 7 (UPI) -- A 42-year-old man who doesn't know how to swim washed ashore along the eastern coast of Taiwan after spending 55 hours at sea, police said.

Tseng Yung-fa was fishing for eels 4 a.m. Friday near the Hualien River when he was swept off his boat and washed out to sea, the Taipei Times reported.

Strong northeasterly monsoon winds, along with north-south currents might have carried him all along the east coast, said Lin Han-tso, the chief petty officer in charge of the 82nd coast guard unit.

Lin said he found Tseng lying on the rocks about 20 paces away from where he stood when he had decided to end the search 11 a.m. Sunday.

Tseng was released Monday from Buddhist Tzu Chi General Hospital in Hualien, the Focus Taiwan News Channel reported. Other than some minor hypothermia, he was in good health.

Tseng told the China Times he considered himself lucky to survive because he doesn't know how to swim.

"I struggled and my wetsuit eventually came off. I managed to float, but I couldn't see anything. I held out my hands and unexpectedly caught a piece of driftwood. I then stayed afloat on the driftwood," he said.

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