Search continues for hiker missing in mountains for 14 days

Firefighters, aircrews, and civilian volunteers are searching for a man who was last seen when he left a group of fellow hikers in a remote mountain area of Hualien County, November 24.

The 52-year-old man, named Lee, left his group of 8 hikers, and turned back on the second day of a hike, feeling that he lacked the physical stamina to keep up. The other hikers continued, and when they reached a ridgeline and had network coverage on November 27, they attempted to contact Lee.

Unable to reach Lee by phone, his teammates were worried that he may have lost his way on his way back to the trailhead. Some of Lee’s friends backtracked to the trailhead on Ruisui Mountain Road, but unable to find a trace, or make phone contact, reported Lee missing on November 29.

The Hualien County Fire Department dispatched a team to search for Lee. Three civilian search parties also joined the search in the ensuing days and weeks.

Network data showed that Lee’s last phone signal was seen at 4:30am on November 25. However, a lack of base stations in the area meant that his location could not be triangulated.

107 people have joined the search so far, with 5 helicopter sorties having been flown. On December 4, an aerial photograph was taken showing a green object in a streambed that search coordinators believe may be Lee’s tent.

Czech mountaineer, Petr Novotny, has also joined the search after being contacted by Lee’s family. Novotny has joined several searches in recent months, the most recent being the search for a man who went missing in the mountains of Nantou County in October. Novotny found the remains of the missing hiker, named Huang, on November 8.

When contacted by Taiwan English News yesterday, Novotny said he was departing for the area in the evening, and expects to be out for three to four days.

Family and friends of Mr Lee have raised NT$300,000 to anybody who can find him, they announced on Facebook today.

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