Two dead after Taiwan research boat sinks; 43 rescued

A video-grabbed image released by Taiwan's Coast Guard on Oct 11, 2014, shows the sinking marine research ship in the waters near the Penghu islands. -- PHOTO: AFP/TAIWAN COAST GUARD
A video-grabbed image released by Taiwan's Coast Guard on Oct 11, 2014, shows the sinking marine research ship in the waters near the Penghu islands. -- PHOTO: AFP/TAIWAN COAST GUARD

TAIPEI (AFP) - Two Taiwanese scientists died and 43 other people were rescued when a marine research ship sank off Taiwan after hitting a reef, coastguard officials said on Saturday.

Emergency treatment failed to revive the pair after the vessel "Ocean Researcher V", carrying 27 researchers and 18 crew members, sank off the Penghu islands on Friday, officials said.

The 2,700-tonne ship began to take on water after it ran into a reef and lost power. Those on board rushed to life rafts, but the rubber boats were capsized by powerful winds and waves, officials said.

The ship, which was launched in 2012, sank around 1300 GMT. The coastguard and the navy dispatched a dozen vessels and helicopters in the rescue, officials said.

The ship departed from a port in southern Tainan city on Thursday for an eight-day marine research expedition commissioned by the government and jointly conducted by several universities. It was heading to Penghu to take shelter from the bad weather.