Search and rescue operations are continuing Sunday morning after a group of adults and students attending a nature camp were swept away by a flash flood in Shuangxi District, New Taipei City, Saturday afternoon.
New Taipei City Fire Department received reports that a group of students and teachers had been swept away by a sudden surge of water in a stream on the Hubao Pond Trail at 4:38 pm.
A group of 31 people taking part in a nature camp were hiking on the Hubao Pond Trail when heavy rain began to fall at around 4:00 pm. The group of 16 adults and 15 children and teens turned back to return to the carpark. Five adults and four children had made it safely across the Beishi River by crossing on a slit dam when the water level suddenly rose.
Search and rescue personnel arrived at the scene to find nine adults and four children trapped on the other side of the swollen river, and seven missing. As of 8:00 pm, six people remained missing, including two adults, and four children aged 8 to 15.
At 5:30 pm it was reported that one of the seven missing, a nine-year-old girl, had managed to grab onto a branch and clamber out of the river.
New Taipei City Mayor Hou Youyi said that the 31 people had been participating in a nature experience course organized by the Tianda Local Nature Company. Members had registered via a Facebook community group called “Generous Nature.” The mayor ordered search operations to continue through the night.
Search and rescue teams continued operations through the night working in three-hour shifts.
At dawn, Sunday, 256 search and rescue personnel gathered at the Command Center at Taiping Activity Center in Shuangxi District to be deployed to search areas downstream in the Beishi River.
At around 6:30 am, search and rescue personnel reported finding the body of one male at an interception point.
The Central Weather Bureau had forecast, Friday, the arrival of a northeast monsoonal front with heavy rain expected in mountain districts starting Saturday afternoon. Whether there was negligence on the part of activity organizers is currently under investigation.
List of missing:
Liu Oyu, an 11-year-old boy, a student of Xinhu Elementary School;
Liu Oqi, an 8-year-old girl, a student of Xinhu Elementary School;
Cai Oxi, a 9-year-old girl, a student of Yonghe Elementary School;
Chen O Yin, 15-year-old girl, Lishan Junior High School student;
Chen Otai, a 48-year-old man;
Zhong Ozhe, a 45-year-old man.
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