Coroner's Court of Western Australia

Inquest into the Suspected Death of Fuh Jinn YANG

Inquest into the Suspected Death of Fuh Jinn YANG

Delivered on : 9 February 2022

Delivered at : Perth

Finding of : Deputy State Coroner Linton

Recommendations : N/A

Orders/Rules : N/A

Suppression Order : N/A

Summary : Mr Fuh Jinn Yang was born on 29 July 1958 in Taiwan and was Taiwanese national.  Mr Yan was single and worked as a fisherman.  He was working on the Taiwanese fishing vessel, “Hung Chun 5” at the time of his disappearance in the Indian Ocean off Broome on 5 August 1984.  Mr Yang has not been seen nor heard from again.

The vessel on which Mr Yang was employed left Taiwan on 21 July 1984 and arrived at the outer anchorage of Broome during the afternoon of 3 August 1984.  Shortly after the vessel arrived, three crew members began drinking wine.  They were drinking in a downstairs cabin and continued to drink until approximately 5.00 pm on Saturday 4 August 1984.  At this time, all men were very intoxicated and they fell asleep.  At about 11.00 am Mr Wan Chi Yang made his way outside the cabin and fell into the water.  Mr Fuh Jinn Yang saw Mr Wan Chi Yang lying on his back in the water.  Mr Fuh Jinn Yang threw Mr Wan Chi Yang a life ring.  Mr Fuh Jinn Yang dived into the water, wearing a life ring attached to the vessel by a rope in order to try and rescue Mr Wan Chi Yang.  Mr Fuh Jinn Yang swam over to Mr Wan Chi Yang and tried to place the loose life ring over him, but was unable to do so.  The life ring, and Mr Wan Chi Yang, began to drift away.  Mr Fuh Jinn Yang took off his life ring so that he could swim further and reach Mr Wan Chi Yang.  Mr Fuh Jinn Yang swam and placed the loose life ring over Mr Wan Chi Yang’s body.

At the same time, another crew member dived into the water and took hold of the life ring that Mr Fuh Jinn Yang had just relinquished, which was still attached to the vessel by rope.  The crew member tried to reach both men, but they were too far away from him and so he returned to the vessel.  Other crew members used binoculars to keep sight of Mr Fuh Jinn Yang and Mr Wan Chi Yang, who remained floating together, but eventually they lost sight of the two men.  The Captain of the vessel advised police.  After initial difficulty deciphering the message for help, a search and rescue operation was commenced.

A local fisherman was requested to assist with the sea search.  After a short time the local fisherman saw an object in the water and observed what appeared to be a person’s head and shoulders in the water.  The person was hanging on to a life ring, and holding on to a body with their other hand.  As the local fisherman approached, he saw the person release the body and raise his hand to wave at him.  The local fisherman looked down and could see a body sinking downwards in the water with his hands raised above his head.  He managed to pull the other person into the boat and when he looked in the water to see if he could retrieve the other body, but it had disappeared from view.  The person rescued was Mr Wan Chi Yang.  It was decided that Mr Fuh Jinn Yang was the other person seen sinking to the bottom.

The search for Mr Fuh Jinn Yang continued over the following weeks and there has been no further sightings of Mr Fuh Jinn Yang.  The Coroner was satisfied beyond all reasonable doubt Mr Fuh Jinn Yang died at sea on 4 August 1984 as a result of drowning and found Mr Fuh Jinn Yang’s death occurred by way of Accident.

Catch Words : Missing Person : Land and Air Search : Accident

Last updated: 19-Mar-2022

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