|Norwegian rescued by Taiwan Government on Christmas Day|
| [31.12.2011, 12:59am, Sat. GMT]|
|Norway does not have an embassy, consulate, trade or cultural office (not even a seamen’s church) in Taiwan to help Norwegian or its own national interest. Just before Christmas, a thirty-nine year old Norwegian left his hometown near Kristiansand to work on the deck of a new semi-submersible drilling rig. The rig departed from Yantai, China at 8:00 AM on December 21 and intends to arrive in Norway in March or April of 2012.
All 80 crewmembers on board had a nice Christmas celebration, enjoying ribs, kohlrabi dishes and other foods from Norway.However, on the afternoon of Christmas day, about 48 nautical miles off the northern coast of Keelung City, Taiwan, there was an accident seriously injuring the 39 year-old Norwegian crewmember.
Taiwan National Rescue Command Center received a request for assistance at 6:26 PM. As the drilling rig belongs to China, the request was passed on to Taiwan’s Department of Defense who ordered one of its four Air Force S-70 C-6 helicopters to conduct the rescue. The S-70 C-6 is an open sea military (NAVY) rescue aircraft.
The helicopter took off at 6:53 PM from Songshan Air Force Base in Taipei and reached the rig at 7:17 PM. The victim was taken off the rig at 7:42 PM, along with another Norwegian crewmember to accompany him, arriving at 8:09 PM at Songshan Airport in Taipei. From there a Taipei City Fire Department ambulance took the Norwegians and brought them to Tri-Service General Hospital at 8:27 PM. (picture by Reporter Pei-Huang Chen, Central News Agency). The rescue was successfully completed in just two hours.
The Norwegian had several injuries but the doctors did a very good operation to avoid permanent damage. After surgery, the patient was unable to talk or eat for a while, but managed to give signs of his gratefulness and appreciation to his agent and the hospital staff for their great care. He praised the doctors for their work.
It is too early to explain the cause of the accident or to say what happened. Security rules were upheld, but the case will be investigated. The Norwegian co-worker received a room at a hotel next to the hospital. He was able to take walks in the park or to the nearby forest hills. One day he took a taxi to see Taipei 101 before they both flew to Norway on Thursday.
The rig continues to Singapore to exchange staff. It is moving under its own power.
Accidents are unavoidable, but the victim was lucky the injury occurred close to Taiwan. The hospitals in Taipei are among the best in Asia.
The Norwegian Embassy in Singapore has two contact persons in Taiwan, but both were in Norway for Christmas celebrations. Heidi Aakre, the embassy secretary at the Embassy says: - This was sad news. The Embassy is not been told about the accident, but there is no requirement to notify the Embassy of such events. In cases like this there is little we can do except to underwrite the costs associated with treatment if they have insurance. In this case, it seems that it is already given a guarantee, probably by the employer. Employers must also keep relatives informed.
Norwegian Church Abroad is a charitable organization supported by the Church of Norway and the Norwegian Government. The organisation has a traveling chaplain for East Asia. Taiwan was added to their website for the first time about a year ago. The church has preparedness work worldwide to show presence and care to individuals, families and coworkers who feel vulnerable when they are far away from their usual home network. In this case there were no emergency call to the church as the victim had a coworker to see to him.
Tri-Service General Hospital (TSGH) is a teaching hospital under the jurisdiction of the National Defense Medical Center that provides clinical treatment to military service members on active duty. The hospital also treats patients with medical insurance and the general public while it conducts training and research.
On a hospital wall, there is a text with the mission, vision, goals and values of the hospital. The Norwegian patient is very satisfied with the hospital.
Geir Yeh Fotland – Taiwan National Correspondent NORWAY NEWS.com