Hiker found alive 10 days after going missing in mountain area

Photo courtesy of Pingtung's Bureau of Fire and Emergency Services.

TAIPEI (CNA) — A hiker who went missing 10 days ago following a hike in the mountains in Pingtung County was found alive by rescuers Tuesday, according to the county’s fire department.

Yang Hsin-cheng (楊欣正) was found by private rescuers lying on a riverbank near the Knifetail River Waterfall in rural Laiyi Township on Tuesday morning, the fire department said in a statement.

He was found conscious with a non-life threatening head laceration, and the rescuers were preparing to evacuate him from the mountain to a hospital, it said.

The National Fire Agency, meanwhile, said it was ready to dispatch a rescue helicopter to the scene to airlift Yang to a nearby hospital as soon as an emergency landing site being cleared near where Yang was found was ready for use.

The 52-year-old Yang, the deputy superintendent of Ping An Psychiatric Hospital, was reported missing on the afternoon of June 6 by his fellow hikers who were with him during a trip to Peng Chi Mountain that morning.

Yang was separated from other 14 hikers in the same group midway through the hike. Other hikers called the fire department after they failed to establish contact with Yang by the end of the excursion.

A close friend of Yang, Pingtung County Councilor Cheng Ching-yuan (鄭清原), offered an NT$ 2 million (US$66,889) reward to anyone who found Yang, dead or alive.

The fire department and private rescuers had since launched several rounds of searches to locate Yang’s whereabouts, but their efforts were hindered by the poor condition of mountain trails following several days of precipitation.