Missing Hiker Rescued After 37 Day Ordeal

A hiker who made cellphone contact with rescuers 6 days ago after being missing 31 days, was finally rescued from a remote mountain ridge in Hualian County this morning. He had been without food for 8 days.

See previous article: Hiker Makes Contact After 31 Days Missing

The 29 year old hiker, Lee Minghan (李明翰) set off on a cross-island solo hike May 13. Lee’s last contact with his family by phone was made on May 15.

On May 20, Lee was injured in a fall and was unable to walk. Trapped in heavily forested valley, and facing rising waters after heavy rain, Lee eventually decided to crawl on his hands and knees up a to the top of a 2,200 meter ridge where he reasoned he would have a better chance of being spotted by helicopter search and rescue.

After Lee reached the top, he found he had a cellphone signal and was able to make contact with rescue services. On the morning of June 14, Lee called rescue services and told them he suspected he had a fractured leg, and had run out of food 2 days previously.

Although rescuers dispatched a helicopter, poor visibility and wind prevented them finding Lee, and bad weather that set in prevented further attempts to reach him by air. A ground party set off on foot the following day, expecting to take 5 days to reach him.

The rescue party made contact with Lee at 9:17am this morning. Lee appeared weak but conscious. A Black Hawk helicopter was dispatched to Hualian for the rescue and arrived the Hualian Airforce Base at 11:30 to refuel and standby while the rescue team prepared a landing area. Lee was airlifted from the ridge at 1:55pm. He was taken to Tzu Chi hospital for treatment.

Emergency Department physician Doctor Zhang Xinshuo (張新說) said Lee was stable, clearly conscious and able to communicate. X-ray examination showed that he had fractures in both legs – his left lower leg and right femur. CT scans later also identified cervical spine injuries and pneumonothorax issues.

A photographer who traveled with the rescue team, “Mountain Goat,” wrote on the “Snow Ram” Facebook page that this rescue will go down as a classic in Taiwan mountain rescue history. Mountain Goat praised Lee as a lover of the mountains, and rescue team members for their perseverance.

rescued hiker on stretcher
Hiker Lee Minghan, who set off on a cross-island hike 37 days ago is seen being taken out of a rescue cradle after being airlifted from a remote location in the Central Mountain Range. Picture: Liberty Times Network
Nokia 105
Lee managed to make phone contact after 30 days with a Nokia 105.

Many readers on various media outlets comment and Facebook pages asked how a cellphone can still have power after 30 days. A reader on the Taiwan Reporter Facebook page wrote “It must be an old Nokia.” It was revealed today that Lee’s phone is indeed a Nokia, although a 105 model manufactured in 2015.

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