Thu, May 15, 2008 - Page 1 News List

Two Taiwanese reported dead, 14 remain missing

By Shelley Shan  /  STAFF REPORTER

Two Taiwanese, including a three-year-old boy, were yesterday repor­ted killed following the devastating earthquake in southwest China. At press time last night, 14 Taiwanese tourists remained unreachable by phone.

Tourist Wang Min-chuan (王民權), 56, plummeted to the ground on Tuesday as he was being rescued from a cable car that had been stranded mid-air over Dujiangyan, Sichuan Province, after the quake struck on Monday, an official at the Straits Exchange Foundation said.

Wang was sent to a nearby hospital, where he died at 11:40pm on Tuesday.

Ten other people who had also been trapped in the 50m-high cable car system were brought to safety.

China’s state media reported that a three-year-old Taiwanese boy had been killed, while two other Taiwanese were slightly injured.

About 2,800 Taiwanese tourists in 100 tour groups were in Sichuan Province to visit the Yangtze River, the Wolong Panda Reserve and the scenic Jiuzhaigou Valley when the quake hit Wenchuan County.

The 14 tourists that remained missing yesterday are from Hsichou Township (溪州) in Changhua County.

Golden Hyatt (凱越旅行社) travel agency said yesterday it had finally reached 32 of its clients who had been scheduled to travel to Jiuzhaigou on Monday.

The agency’s assistant manager Laku Lo (駱簡豪) told the Taipei Times that it had reached the tour guide, Wu Tai-kuang (吳台光), at around 10am yesterday.

Wu told the agency that all the tourists in his group had been taken in by a village of Tibetan people and that all of them were safe.

He told the agency that another Taiwanese tour group, organized by EZ Travel (易遊網), was staying in the same village.

Wu said he had traveled about an hour to find a location with better mobile phone reception.

He said that although there was no problem with food supplies, one of the tourists is diabetic and had just enough medication for nine days.

Lo said the tourists would leave the village this morning and head to the Jiuzhaigou-Huanglong Airport.

“We hope to secure the flight seats immediately so that our guests can fly to the airport in Chengdu this afternoon,” Lo said, adding that their customers would stay in the hotel in Chengdu today until they get connecting flights to Hong Kong or Macau.

ADDITIONAL REPORTING BY AFP AND DPA

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