Taiwan hiker survived on salt and water

By James Lo, The China Post

TAIPEI, Taiwan — Freshly rescued Taiwanese hiker Liang Sheng-yu (梁聖岳) said his girlfriend had died just three days before a search party found them on a cliff in the Himalayas. The couple went hiking in Dhading District through a Kathmandu-based commercial adventure company, Asian Trekking, on March 8, with the last update on their whereabouts dating to March 9. The couple went missing while trying to descend to Somdang Valley in heavy snowfall. Forty-seven days later, rescuers found 21-year-old Liang alive and Liu Chen-chun (劉宸君), 18, dead by a cliff at the bottom of a waterfall, according to Madhav Basnet, a rescuer who works for Asian Trekking. The couple was apparently following the Ganesh Himal route when they encountered bad weather conditions. They then tried following the Narchet River to locate a village and escape the snowstorm, but got into an accident by the waterfall, where they were trapped at a location around 2,600 meters above sea level. Basnet said rescuers had to suspend their search to April 20 due to bad weather. Rescuers caught the sight of a red tent on Wednesday and found Liang after reaching the cliff.

Liang was reportedly still able to talk and told rescuers that Liu died only three days earlier, on April 23. A helicopter was deployed to airlift Liang and Liu’s body to Kathmandu, where Liang was hospitalized at Grande Hospital. Salt for Survival Basnet said the couple had taken shelter in their sleeping bags and tent and had survived on the food they had brought with them. After depleting their food supply over two weeks, the couple then survived on salt and water. One of Liang’s physicians, Ajay Singh Thapa, said his patient had lost 30 kilograms from the ordeal. Liang’s hair was crawling with lice and his legs were infested by maggots, he said, but said his physical functions remained mostly normal. The doctor said that a likely reason Liang had survived for so long under such harsh conditions was that he had packed sufficient salt and water. Another physician, Sanjaya Karki, said that while Liang seemed physically fine, the medical team would take it slow with his rehabilitation. After critical nutrients are restored, Liang will undergo counseling to help him deal with his experience, the doctor said.