At least 2 Filipinos killed in Taiwan bridge collapse

MANILA, Philippines (UPDATED) – At least two Filipino fishermen were killed after a bridge collapsed in Taiwan, Philippine labor officials said on Wednesday, October 2.

The Philippines' Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) identified the two fishermen as Andree Abregana Serencio and Gorge Jagmis Impang,

DOLE said in a statement that another Filipino fisherman, Romulo Illustrimo Escalicas Jr, remained missing. He was feared to still be trapped in rubble underneath the bridge which collapsed on Tuesday, October 1.

DOLE said rescue and retrieval operations were still ongoing following the incident. Rescuers on site have been scrambling to reach people feared trapped after the 460-foot long single-arch bridge came crashing down in Nanfangao, on Taiwan's east coast. (READ: 4 bodies found, 2 still missing after Taiwan bridge collapse)

According to DOLE, families of the victims had been notified of the incident. Labor officials also sought to assure the families that the Philippine government would assist in repatriating the remains of the fishermen.

In a statement Wednesday afternoon, the labor department expressed its sympathies to families of Filipino fishermen killed in the incident. Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III said "all possible assistance" will be given to the families of those killed and that scholarship benefits will also be given to the victims' children. 

DOLE said the Overseas Workers Welfare Administraion (OWWA) would assist in the processing of all benefits and entitlements due to the fishermens' families.

Another 5 Filipino fishermen were earlier reported to have sustained minor injuries from the collapse and were being treated at the Poai Hospital and Rong Min Hospital.

Taiwanese authorities are investigating the incident. The bridge, built in 1998, was still within its expected 50-year lifespan.

Taiwan has a huge fishing industry that employed low-paid migrant workers from countries such as the Philippines, Indonesia, and Vietnam. – Rappler.com

Sofia Tomacruz

Sofia Tomacruz covers foreign affairs, the overseas Filipino workers, and elections. She also writes stories on the treatment of women and children. Follow her on Twitter @sofiatomacruz. Email her at sofia.tomacruz@rappler.com.

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