1,010 Taiwanese in Sichuan all safe and sound

The China Post news staff

TAIPEI, Taiwan — As many as 1,010 Taiwanese tourists traveling to the Jiuzaigou National Park in Sichuan were all safe and sound as of yesterday evening, but there is still one Taiwanese tour group that remains unreachable, according to statistics released yesterday by the Taiwan Affairs Office of the Sichuan Province.

Pai Kang, director of the office, released the tallies to the Central News Agency. He said the Taiwanese tourists were stranded at Jiuzaigou, due mainly to the Jiu Huang Airport suspending operations after the devastating quake, and all enjoyed normal accommodation and meals. Pai continued that his office is negotiating with Sichuan Airlines to transport the Taiwanese tourists to Chengdu. Pai didn’t rule out the possibility for the number of Taiwanese tourists stranded at the Jiuzaigou to rise further. In related news, two Taiwanese, including a three-year-old boy, were killed and 14 others could not be contacted in southwest China following the devastating earthquake, officials and media said yesterday. Tourist Wang Min-chuan, 56, fell to his death on Tuesday as he was being rescued from a cable car stranded in mid-air over Dujiangyan, Sichuan province, an official at the Strait Exchange Foundation (SEF) said here.

Ten other people who were also trapped in the 50-meter (164-feet) high cable car system were brought to safety.

Meanwhile, a group of 14 Taiwanese tourists traveling in Sichuan could not be contacted, he added.

The semi-official SEF is in charge of civilian exchanges with the mainland in the absence of official contacts between Beijing and Taipei.