Six Taiwanese canyoneering experts join effort to search for missing hiker

Hiker has been missing since Dec. 26 after joining a group trek up Baigu mountain

(Taichung City Fire Bureau photo) 

(Taichung City Fire Bureau photo) 

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — Six canyoneering experts on Jan. 10 joined Taichung City Fire Bureau's efforts to find a male hiker who went missing on Dec. 26 last year after scaling a mountain on the border of Taichung City and Nantou County.

The 50-year-old man surnamed Chen, tagged along with a group to climb Baigu Mountain, which has an elevation of 3,341 meters, starting at a trailhead in Ren-ai Township, Nantou County, CNA reported. At around noon, Chen and his party made it to the summit, where they took multiple photos.

However, during their descent, he wandered off. Chen later sent messages to the group members saying he was lost. The group waited for him at the trailhead until late into the night, but when he failed to appear, they reported him missing the next day.

Recently, cold waves have swept over Taiwan one after another, and snow has fallen across the nation's mountainous areas, reducing the likelihood of finding Chen alive.

However, the team of highly skilled canyoneering experts, three of who have received training from international canyoneering organizations, has not given up the search. After being airlifted to a campground on Bagu Mountain by helicopter on Jan. 10, they quickly descended into the Dengxian River valley, where Chen was believed to have made two separate “SOS” messages with stones, per CNA. Their mission was to search for Chen along the entirety of the valley.

CNA quoted the fire bureau as saying that the search team had to navigate through waterfalls, swim in deep ponds, and climb across canyons in sub-zero temperatures in the river valley, which was partly covered by snow and ice. Snowfall continued throughout multiple nights, and they had to watch for hypothermia and frostbite at all times, according to the bureau.

So far, the search and rescue team has excluded the possibility of Chen being in the river valley, but the rescuers' tenacity has assured Chen's relatives that the team was doing the utmost to find him, CNA reported.

Updated : 2021-03-04 09:12 GMT+08:00