A Taiwanese trekker who went missing on a mountain in Nepal for 47 days was rescued Wednesday (26 Apr), but his girlfriend died just three days before rescuers discovered them.
Taiwan News reported that an official from Asian Trekking agency, Madhav Basnet, found the 21-year-old trekker Liang Sheng Yueh on a ledge under a waterfall. He was taken by helicopter to a hospital in Kathmandu. The body of his girlfriend, 19-year-old Liu Chen Chun, was also taken to Kathmandu.
Since March, the two trekkers were on a long trek on the Ganesh Himal trail, which is not as crowded as other popular routes. They lost their way after getting caught in a snowstorm.
Basnet said it looked like the couple had followed a river hoping to find a village but slipped and fell over a waterfall. They landed on the ledge and were unable to climb up or down. The area is an altitude of 2,600 meters (8,520 feet).
"He was sleeping when we found them," Basnet told reporters, "He woke up after he heard us. We were very surprised to find him alive. He said that the girl died three days earlier."
Basnet said they had no guides or porters and they carried their own food, tent, and sleeping bags by themselves.
For the first two weeks, they held out on food they had brought in their backpacks but after that, they only ate salt and drank water.
Liang's father had traveled to Nepal after the couple went missing. He had chartered a helicopter to search for them.
Rescuers had scoured the area for two weeks before suspending their search. Then they resumed the search on 20 April.
"We found the man alive and able to speak to us, but the woman was already dead. We could not carry them so we called a helicopter," Basnet said.
A doctor at the Grande Hospital, Ajay Singh Thapa, said: "He appears exhausted and lost some 30 kilograms of body weight. He was suffering from severe malnutrition.”
“His foot was covered with maggots and hair full of lice. Despite having to live like that for 47 days, he appears to be mostly normal.”
“He probably could survive because he was able to get both salt and water in his body," said the doctor.
Liang said he spent the past three days next to the body of his dead girlfriend.