Hiker Makes Contact After 31 Days Missing
Updated 15:32 June 14
A man who set out on a planned 15 day cross-island hike May 13 made contact by cellphone this morning. Although unable to specify his exact location, he identified a ridge north of Dagui Mountain. Rescuers are using the phone signal to attempt to pinpoint his position.
The 29 year-old New Taipei City resident surnamed Lee departed from Nantou May 13, expecting to reach Hualian May 28. His last phone contact was May 15. Lee’s family reported him missing June 3. Hualian Fire Bureau dispatched a rescue team and helicopter to search for Lee but after many days were unable to find the missing hiker.
Lee made a call this morning and said he was injured after a fall, and suspects his left lower leg is fractured. He said that he was on a ridge 4 or 5 kilometers north of peak 2487. Unable to walk, he had crawled up to the top of the ridge. He and had run out of food and water yesterday and was also almost out of fuel. He also told rescuers he was sheltering in a sleeping bag under a yellow canopy.
Rescuers are are waiting for weather conditions to improve so they can dispatch a helicopter. Taiwan is currently under the influence of a severe rain system expected to affect the island until Tuesday. Hualian Fire Bureau said heavy rain is making the rescue attempt more difficult.
Update 15:53 June 13: A helicopter was sent to the location this morning but poor visibility and thick forest prevented them from air-dropping supplies. Helicopter rescue is a priority because the location is about 1 week away on foot. If the helicopter is unable to perform an air-rescue, they will attempt to land a rescue party at a suitable location. Reports did not specify that they had made visual contact or identified the specific location of the missing hiker. Rescuers expressed concern about the impending rain and the possibility he might succumb to hypothermia.
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