In an astonishing feat of survival, a Taiwanese hiker was rescued in the Himalayas after 47 days stranded in the area, Telegraph.co.uk reported. Twenty-one year-old Liang Sheng-yueh was found in the Nepali section of the famous and notoriously challenging mountain range. The hiker was not just alive, but conscious and even speaking — a miracle considering he had survived only on salt and melted snow for a majority of the time he was stranded. Meanwhile, the body of Liang’s girlfriend, 19-year-old Liu Chen-chun was also found. Liang had told rescuers that she had died just three days before they were found, likely from starvation, and that he had stayed with her since then.
According to the Telegraph.co.uk report, the couple had been hiking on the Ganesh Himal trail, which is one of the lesser-crowded routes in the Himalayas. They were making their way towards the Langtang Village to meet friends when they got caught in a snowstorm. Without a guide, the pair got lost, fell over a waterfall, and landed on a ledge, where they got stuck.
Liang and Liu reportedly survived on their packed food for the first 10 or so days, but were forced to make do with salt and melted snow when their supplies ran out. They were found when locals spotted their red tent. With rescuers unable to get to the ledge, Liang and Liu’s body had to be airlifted by helicopter. Liang was then sent straight to the Grande Hospital in Kathmandu, where he is currently being treated both physically and psychologically.
According to the report, Liang was found with no trauma injuries, though his feet were covered in maggots and his head was infested with lice. He also reportedly lost around 30 kgs. Despite this, he was given a good prognosis, with one of his doctors Ajay Singh Thapa saying “Despite having to live like that for 47 days, he appears to be mostly normal.”
As reported on TaipeiTimes.com, the pair, both freshmen at the National Dong Hwa University, were reported missing after their respective families did not hear from them on March 10 as they had expected. Their families asked for official help on March 15, though snow and avalanches in the area made the search especially challenging.
A notice posted March 3 on the website MissingTrekker.com said that Liang and Liu landed in Nepal from India and began their trek on February 22. The notice mentioned that the latest Facebook posts from the couple indicated that they had some setbacks prior to the trek, including lost luggage and “trivial” arguments with each other. Liu’s post would take a particularly chilling turn considering the outcome. She was said to have written: “I wish I had never ended up here”.
The MissingTrekker.com posted several safety tips for hikers who want to conquer the challenging terrains of the Nepali Himalayas.
Before hiking, the website highlighted the importance of doing thorough research, getting insurance, and keeping friends and family informed about trek details as good ways to ensure that you are safe during your trek. The website also cautioned against trekking alone if you’re a first-timer. They also highly recommended hiring a guide, whose expertise and knowledge of the terrain could help especially in unexpected conditions. Setting aside enough time for your trek is also important, the website said, as rushing can cause altitude sickness and increase the likelihood of accidents. As for the actual hike, the website warned against wandering off the trail. They also recommended taking your time during the trek, staying hydrated throughout the journey, and turning back when you feel dizzy.