Police find 1 of 3 missing river tracers: search for 2 continues

Taitung County police have found one man who was a member of a river tracing group reported missing yesterday, and will continue to search for the remaining two missing men, who they believe were washed away while attempting to wade across a stream.

On Friday, December 10, the three men, named Hsu, Du, and Luo, began a three day hike and river tracing trip aiming to reach Lulu Hot Springs in a remote mountain area in Haiduan Township. On the second day of the trip, Saturday, December 11, Hsu and Luo, lost their footing while wading across rapids, and were washed downstream.

The third member of the group, Du, spent the rest of the day searching for his missing friends, but was unable to find them. On Sunday, December 12, Du attempted to hike out of the area to get help, but became lost.

Family members contacted police early Monday morning, after the group failed to return as planned on Sunday, and had not yet made contact.

Police from the Wulu and Lidao police stations of Guanshan police precinct immediately drove to the trailhead, which they said was difficult, even for four-wheel drives, and located the missing men’s vehicles at around 8:00 am. The officers returned to their respective stations, prepared equipment, then returned to the trail to begin a search on foot at 1:20 pm.

After hiking for several hours, the officers came across a group of hikers who were accompanied by Du. The hiking group told police they had seen mysterious lights on the mountain from their camping area Sunday evening, and found the hungry, cold, and exhausted 40-year-old when they went to check in the morning.

lost river tracer drinks water and eats some food after being found by group of hikers
Mr Du after being found by hikers on Monday morning.
Police from Guanshan Police Precinct.

Police accompanied Mr Du back to the trailhead, then drove him to Guanshan Tzu Chi Hospital for a medical examination. Du was found to have suffered some bruises and abrasions, and was discharged after treatment.

At 7:00 am this morning, Tuesday, a Taitung County Fire Bureau search and rescue team departed from the trailhead to search for the two men who remain missing. Mr Luo and Mr Hsu are both in their early 40s. Hsu is a resident of Taitung, and served as guide for the trip. Luo, a former Navy Underwater Demolition Team diver, comes from Tainan City and has made the trip to Lulu Hot Springs several times in the past.

Taitung Fire Bureau described the search area as challenging terrain. Getting to Lulu Hot Springs requires either a steep hike or a long river trace in steep terrain.

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