Nanfang-ao in Yilan County is the home port for about 2,600 migrant fishermen in northeastern Taiwan. Photo: Google Maps

A 24-year-old Filipino fisherman was praised for jumping into a roaring sea to try to save a colleague who fell from their boat off Taiwan last month.

On December 28, a Taiwanese captain and seven migrant fishermen departed on a vessel from Nanfang-ao in Yilan County in northeastern Taiwan, the Liberty Times reported.

The weather suddenly turned windy and an Indonesian fisherman named Sayidi fell overboard after the boat was hit by a wave.

Other fishermen threw life buoys onto the sea but failed to reach Sayidi. So, a Filipino fisherman named Jeffery jumped into the sea and swam to their colleague, who was still breathing at that point.

However, the Indonesian, aged 41, died when they got him back to the ship.

Jeffery told reporters said later he would save whoever fell into the sea as he did not want to lose anyone from their boat. He said he was sad that Sayidi had not survived.

Allison Lee Lihua, secretary-general of the Yilan Migrant Fishermens’ Union, praised Jeffery as a hero, saying he had risked his life to try to save his colleague. Lee said Sayidi’s body could have been lost at sea without the Filipino’s heroic efforts. She said the union was now raising funds for Sayidi’s 19-year-old daughter and 14-year-old son.

There are 2,600 migrant fishermen, including 2,000 Indonesians, in Nanfang-ao, which is one of the three biggest fishing ports in Taiwan. The other two are Kaohsiung and Keelung.

Read: Fisherman dies after Filipinos clash with Indonesians on boat
Read: Filipino fisherman, Taiwanese captain dispute unresolved

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