Taiwan bridge collapse crushes fishing boats, some crew feared trapped

The collapse of the bridge damaged three fishing boats and two vehicles, Taiwan officials said. (Taiwan’s Coast Guard via AP)
Updated 01 October 2019

Taiwan bridge collapse crushes fishing boats, some crew feared trapped

  • Divers were searching for those feared trapped in a couple of fishing boats

TAIPEI: A bridge collapsed into a harbor in northeastern Taiwan on Tuesday, crushing several fishing boats with some crew feared trapped, authorities said.
At least nine people fell in the water and seven were rescued, Taiwan’s Central News Agency said. Six people were seriously injured, it reported.
Divers were searching for those feared trapped in a couple of fishing boats, two government officials from the port township of Suao said.
“The bridge collapsed at around 9:30 a.m. while an oil tanker vehicle was on it, setting the vehicle on fire,” said Shih I-chun, the secretary of the town’s mayor. “We feared that some fishermen might be trapped in the boats.”
Authorities have set up an emergency center and the military said marines and the navy were helping with the rescue efforts.
“Saving life is priority,” Taiwan Premier Su Tseng-chang said in a Facebook post. “I will ask related authorities to make all effort for the rescue.”
The collapse of the bridge, which carries traffic over the busy fishing port, damaged three fishing boats and two vehicles, including the tanker, the officials said, though the reason for the collapse in clear weather was not immediately clear.
Late on Monday, typhoon Mitag, packing maximum winds of 162 kph (100 mph), swept past northeastern Taiwan, injuring 12 people and cutting power to more than 66,000 homes, with more than 150 flights canceled.


Texas court halts execution in high-profile case

A woman holds a sign during a protest against the execution of Rodney Reed on Wednesday, Nov. 13, 2019, in Bastrop, Texas. (AP)
Updated 17 November 2019

Texas court halts execution in high-profile case

  • Millions of people, including US lawmakers and Hollywood celebrities Kim Kardashian and Susan Sarandon, have signed petitions supporting Reed

WASHINGTON: A Texas appeals court has suspended the execution of convicted murderer Rodney Reed — who has long claimed his innocence — in a case that has attracted widespread public attention and a celebrity-backed campaign.
Reed, a 51-year-old African-American, was sentenced to death in 1998 after being convicted by an all-white jury of the rape and murder of Stacey Stites, a 19-year-old white woman.
His execution by lethal injection had been set for November 20, but Reed says he did not commit the crime, and his lawyers and supporters say that evidence proves he is innocent.
The Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles announced on Friday that it had “voted unanimously to recommend the governor grant a 120-day reprieve” to Reed, who had appealed for clemency.
The state appeals court then halted the execution later in the evening.
Millions of people, including US lawmakers and Hollywood celebrities Kim Kardashian and Susan Sarandon, have signed petitions supporting Reed.
Kardashian said on social media she was with Reed when he received news about the reprieve.
Although traces of Reed’s DNA were found in the victim, he has always maintained that he and Stites were secretly having an affair.
Reed’s lawyers say that evidence obtained after the trial points to another suspect — the victim’s fiance, Jimmy Fennell, a former policeman who later served a 10-year prison sentence for another rape.
“The strong evidence exonerating Mr.Reed and implicating Fennell continues to mount,” the lawyers wrote in the clemency petition lodged with the state’s Republican governor, Greg Abbott.
In the clemency request, they included a testimonial from a former co-worker of the victim who confirmed the affair.
According to another affidavit, a former prison inmate said he heard Fennell brag during a prison yard conversation about committing the murder.
Fennell has denied involvement in Stites’ murder.
The Texas board declined Reed’s request to downgrade his sentence.
His lawyers also have filed a petition with the US Supreme Court, seeking a stay of execution.