Fri, Jun 19, 2015 - Page 5 News List

Czech runners help to rescue stranded 73-year-old hiker

By Lee Jung-ping and Chen Wei-han  /  Staff reporter, with staff writer

A 73-year-old hiker surnamed Lin, center, is rescued in a mountainous area of New Taipei City on Wednesday by two Czech trail runners and Taoyuan Fire Department personnel.

Photo: Lee Jung-ping, Taipei Times

A 73-year-old mountaineer strayed off a trekking route and spent two nights in despair in a forest straddling Taoyuan and New Taipei City until two Czech runners spotted him and reported his location to rescue workers.

A mountaineer surnamed Lin (林) set off with 18 others to climb Taman Mountain (塔曼山) in Taoyuan’s Fushing District (復興) at dawn on Sunday.

Lin was reported missing when he failed to meet up with his fellow mountaineers at a village in Yilan County.

Rescue workers from Taoyuan, Yilan County and New Taipei City immediately organized a search and rescue operation, but could not find Lin.

The rescuers were planning to camp out on a mountainside at dusk on Tuesday before combing the area again the next day when two trail runners spotted Lin and reported his location to them, rescuers said.

Petr Novotny, one of the runners and the founder of trail running organization Taiwan Beast Runners, told the rescuers that Lin was in a mountainous area in New Taipei City, whereupon rescue workers headed to the location with food and water, before heading down the mountain on Wednesday morning.

Novotny, of the Czech Republic, is an exchange student at National Taiwan University and a renowned trail runner, who can be spotted on overgrown trails and in forests and mountains all across Taiwan. He won a cross-country race at Jiaming Lake (嘉明湖) in Taitung County earlier this year.

Firefighter Lin Kuo-chen (林國鎮) said Lin was physically fit, but he went too far ahead of his colleagues and drifted off course, and it was fortunate for him that there were abundant sources of water on the mountain and that he got lost during the warm weather of the summer.

Novotny lent his shoes to mountaineer Lin, who lost a shoe when he was trying to scoop water from a creek, and he ran over the rocky mountainous terrain in only a pair of socks, Lin Kuo-chen said.

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