Indigenous representative visiting stranded villagers swept away by flooded stream

A female indigenous representative is missing after being swept away by a sudden surge of mud, water, and rocks, while crossing a stream in a mountain district of Kaohsiung City yesterday, August 11.

Xie Yizhen (謝宜真) had been visiting residents of three villages left isolated after catastrophic levels of rain destroyed roads and bridges in Taoyuan District last week.

See previous story: Emergency supplies flown into communities left isolated after disaster-level rain

At around 5:40 pm, 54-year-old Xie was crossing a Yusui River on foot near the flood-wrecked Minbaklu Bridge when a mudflow hit the area.

Companions who witnessed the incident said they heard the sound of rocks falling before a surge of mud began to flow and the stream rose. One of the village wardens grabbed Xie’s arm but both of them were overwhelmed by timber and rocks.

“A big log rushed over and pressed her head. When I lifted the big log with my left hand, a big mud flow followed, flooding over me. When I got up, my hands were empty,” Fuhsing Village warden Jiang Weiming (江維明) said.

Search and rescue teams searched into the night but to no avail. Firefighters said that heavy rain, landslides, and darkness hampered the search. They described the situation as “not optimistic.”

The search was called off at 8:50 pm to be resumed at 6:00 am today, August 12.

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