Taiwanese Hiker Lost Partner, Got Rescued Just Days Before 21st Birthday

After missing for almost seven weeks in the unforgiving Nepalese mountains, Taiwanese hiker 20-year-old Liang Sheng-yue and his partner, 19-year-old Liu Chen-chun, were found by rescuers. The pair had been missing for 47 days. While Liang was rescued alive, his partner, Liu, had passed away three days before rescue arrived.

Madhav Basnet, an official at the Kathmandu-based Asian Trekking Agency and one of the rescuers who were able to locate the lost pair, stated that they were able to retrieve both Liang and Liu before midday Wednesday local time. The pair had been airlifted out of a ravine near the Narchet River in the Himalayas, according to a CNN report.

What was rather tragic, however, was the fact that the rescuers found Liang with the remains of his partner, who had passed away just three days before. Had Liu survived, Liang would have celebrated his 21st birthday with his partner in a Nepalese medical facility. The 20-year-old survivor will turn 21 this coming Friday.

In a statement to CNN, Basnet further stated that the couple had begun their ill-fated trek around the Ganesh Himal route in Dhading district, located west of Kathmandu, the capital of Nepal. The hikers met misfortune on March 9 as they were headed towards Langtang in Rasuwa district when they were faced with a massive snowstorm. Unfortunately for the couple, however, they did not employ any guides or porters during their trek.

It was during this time that both Liang and Liu fell 100 meters off a cliff into a ravine. The pair eventually took shelter in a small cave. Liang and Liu ended up running into a waterfall after attempting to search for a village. With no way to climb back up, the pair were forced to wait for rescue. Basnet described the precarious situation of the two hikers at that point.

“They had a drop of about 100 meters on one side and a steep uphill on the other. They were trapped.”

Around early March, the families of both Liang and Liu lost contact with the pair, eventually requesting for help from the Nepalese government. A search party was formed but was briefly abandoned due to inclement weather in the area. Efforts to rescue the pair were resumed towards the end of April. Basnet described the events that transpired as the rescuers found the couple, according to The Taipei Times.

“In our heads, we never thought they would be alive. So when we found the boy alive, we got scared for a second. He greeted us by saying ‘Namaste.’ He was very happy.”

The 20-year-old Liang did not escape the harrowing ordeal unscathed, however. According to Basnet, Liang stated that by the time he was found, he had not eaten for many days. The hiker also said that he and his partner were able to survive with the packed food they had for the first eight to 10 days. After that, however, their diet shifted to eating salt and melted snow. During his 47 days in the wilderness, Liang lost a total of 66 pounds.

Grande International Hospital medical director Chakra Raj Pandey stated that while Liang’s physical injuries are not grave, the experience did leave the 20-year-old hiker with some psychological instabilities. During the time of his rescue, Pandey stated that Liang had maggots in his right leg and lice in his hair. The medical director, however, said that Liang was nonetheless able to sleep well in the hospital right after he was rescued.

Chou Chiang-chieh, a friend of Liang and Liu, stated that the 20-year-old continues to grieve for his partner. Chou further said that Liang had been in contact with Liu’s family since being rescued.

“She (Lui) fought to survive in the Himalayas for so long and I am really sad she didn’t make it, it’s such a pity, she’s like family to me.”

[Featured Image by Malcolm Foster/AP Images]