Search and rescue personnel found two bodies and are searching for two missing people, after five members of a camping group were washed away by a flash flood caused by an accidental release of water from a dam in Nantou County this morning, September 13.
Staff at Taipower’s Daguan Power Plant said that a sluice gate on the Wujie Dam automatically opened at 4:12 pm for an unknown reason. Staff noticed the abnormality shortly after 5:00 am, and closed the gate.
However, three adults and two children from a group of six camping downstream were washed away when water flooded their camp.
One woman from the group was not affected as she was sleeping in a car, and another man who was swept up in the flood managed to get back to shore. The survivors called emergency services.
Police and firefighters mounted a ground and air search for the missing campers.
Daguan Power Plant staff have cut power to the dam sluice gates to prevent further abnormalities during the search and rescue operation, and are investigating the cause of the incident.
According to Liberty Times, the campers consisted of members of two families, named Lu, and Lai, from Taichung City.
The families were camping in the stream bed of the Zhoushui River near the junction of Lixi Creek in Renai Township.
According to reports, searchers found the body of a 7-year-old boy six kilometers downstream from the campsite at around 8:00 am. The body of the boy’s 48-year-old mother was located by aerial search at around noon.
Still missing are a 12-year-old girl from the Lu family, and her 53-year-old father.
Update: 1:44 pm: Body of 12-year-old girl found. Taipower says signs in the area warned people not to enter, and camping and other recreational activities were not allowed.
Analysis by expat familiar with the area:
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