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Hiker missing for two weeks in central Taiwan

Man had turned back down trail alone after feeling ill

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Missing hiker Lee

Missing hiker Lee (CNA photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — A 52-year-old hiker surnamed Lee (李) has been missing since Nov. 24, when after feeling unwell, he left his hiking group and turned back alone.

The hiking group embarked on a 10-day trip to traverse the South Section 3 of the Central Mountain Range, one of the most arduous alpine hiking routes in Taiwan. They started from the Ruisui forest road in Hualien County on Nov. 23, CNA reported.

However, on the second day, Lee felt under the weather and decided to discontinue the trip. He turned back at the kilometer-31 mark of the forest road by himself. Several days later, the hiking group leader reported Lee missing after he did not pick up the phone.

Hualien County Fire Department Third Group Commander Lu Kuan-chen (呂冠辰) told media on Tuesday (Dec. 7) that the department received reports of Lee’s going missing on Nov. 29 and dispatched four staffers to the mountains to search for him. Three civil mountaineering groups have since joined the search, but one of the groups has since departed due to cold weather conditions, according to Lu

Lee’s family has also contacted the famed Czech mountaineer and Beast Runners founder Petr Novotny, who joined the search on Tuesday, Lu said.

The ground search, which has covered branch lines of the forest road, hunting trails, ravines, and other spots where he might have slipped, as well as five helicopter search missions, has come up empty.

“They left no stone unturned in areas where ordinary people can access, and now the search will focus on more inaccessible areas,” Lu said.

Lee’s family has posted on Facebook to ask help from the public in finding him. The missing hiker’s classmates and friends have raised funds and are offering a reward of NT$300,000 (US$10,819) for anyone who can locate him.

Lee was dressed in a blue upper outer garment with a bright purple backpack, while the color of his tent is light green, the report said. Hikers who see any trace of Lee are encouraged to contact the Hualien County Fire Department.

Hiker missing for two weeks in central Taiwan
Missing hiker Lee (CNA photo)

Hiker missing for two weeks in central Taiwan
(Hualien County Fire Department photo)