Family members of Chang Po-wei (張博崴), a student at Chung Shan Medical University who died in a mountain climbing accident, yesterday accused the government of ineffective rescue efforts.
After 51 days of searching by local police, fire department, the military, volunteer civil rescue teams and teams hired by family members, Chang’s body was found near Beigang River (北港溪) in Yunlin County last week by two mountain climbers — two days after they launched their own search for the missing student.
Chang’s parents said their son had died in the mountains because the government did not use the GPS on their son’s cellphone to locate him.
Photo: Lin Chun-hung, Taipei Times, courtesy of Chang Po-wei’s family
They said they were mulling the possibility of seeking state compensation.
Chang’s mother said a medical examiner had determined that her son probably died five or six days before he was found. Her son was a good swimmer and the family had requested that rescue teams search near or at a river valley, she said.
After her son’s disappearance, the commander of the rescue mission asked her if her son had gotten in a dispute with her or his girlfriend and could have been hiding, Chang’s mother said.
For their part, police initially refused their request to obtain detailed records of their son’s cellphone, stating requirements to respect personal information and privacy.
That, she said, cost additional rescue time.
Chang had set out to climb Baigu Mountain (白姑大山) on his own on Feb. 28.
At about 3:30pm on the second day, Chang’s girlfriend received a phone call from him saying he was lost, but believed he could find his way out. She lost contact with him after half an hour.
Chang’s family reported the matter to the police the same night.
His body was found close to where his parents and girlfriend had expected him to be.
Huang Kuo-shu (黃國書), the mountain climber who found the body, had called Chang’s girlfriend last week and asked her to confirm her hearing the sound of running water during her last conversation with Chang.
Huang tracked footprints and folded tree branches close to the river valley and described what looked like a tent in the vicinity. After climbing down 600m and crossing deep water and waterfalls, Huang found Chang’s body rolled in his sleeping bag, with his half-erected tent and backpack nearby.
Bloodstains on Chang’s pants led Huang to conclude that Chang may have injured himself after falling into the valley, forcing him to wait to be rescued.
Chang’s father said that while the police and fire departments sent out teams of four people to search for three days, they limited their search to mountain trails.
Police told him they did not have ropes that were long enough to go down the valley, he said, while the military suspended searches whenever it rained or fogged.
After Chang’s body was found, the teams hired by the family to look for their son changed their explanations, saying they did not have the equipment to go down the valley, he said.
If all the teams involved had acted more professionally, his son would probably have been saved rather than waiting to die in his sleeping bag, the father said.
Chang’s parents said they were grateful for the civilian rescue teams’ efforts, but were angry at the government’s rescue plans and urged it to adopt stricter regulations on mountain climbing.
Taiwan from Thursday is to reinstate visa exemptions for passport holders from 65 countries. Mandatory quarantine for arriving travelers is to be lifted on Oct. 13 , when restrictions on inbound and outbound tour groups are also to be lifted. The following is a list of answers to common questions regarding how the new regulations are to affect inbound international visitors Which passports will have visa-free entry privileges? Eleven more countries on Thursday are to join 54 countries that were given visa-free privileges on Sept. 12. Passport holders from Japan, South Korea, Chile, Israel and Nicaragua can stay in Taiwan for up to 90 days without a visa. Taiwan is also to resume 30-day visa-free stays for citizens of the Dominican Republic, Singapore and Malaysia. Passport holders from Thailand, Brunei and the Philippines are to be allowed to stay in Taiwan for 14 days visa-free. Taiwan on Sept. 12 resumed 90-day visa-free entry for passport holders from the US, the UK, Ireland, Canada, Australia, New
PRIDE AND FURY: Supporters of the Taiwan People’s Communist Party sang in Tainan, while Taiwan loyalists in Kaohsiung vowed to ‘protect Taiwan until death’ Two small Taiwanese groups at the far ends of the debate over relations with Beijing marked the National Day of the People’s Republic of China yesterday with flag raisings and flag burnings — opposite responses at a time of rising tension over the Taiwan Strait. Oct. 1 marks the day that Mao Zedong (毛澤東) proclaimed the People’s Republic of China in 1949, with the defeated Republic of China government fleeing to Taiwan at the end of that year, where — after democratic reforms — it remains to this day, neither recognizing the other. China’s national day is not officially marked in any
Adolescents aged 12 to 17 can start receiving the Novavax COVID-19 vaccine from tomorrow, the Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) said yesterday, adding that the second phase of inoculations using Moderna’s bivalent vaccine would begin next week. The Ministry of Health and Welfare’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices has recommended that the Novavax vaccine can be administered to adolescents aged 12 to 17 as their primary series of vaccines or as a booster shot. It also allowed a mix-and-match approach. The Novavax vaccine is a good choice for eligible recipients who are worried about possible adverse reactions from other COVID-19 vaccines, said
‘CONSENSUS’: The CECC would brief the Cabinet on its reopening plans if data show that a local outbreak proceeded as it had predicted, Premier Su Tseng-chang said The Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) could announce today that it would fully reopen borders on Oct. 13, Premier Su Tseng-chang (蘇貞昌) said yesterday. Su in the morning inspected Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport to check if airport personnel were prepared to cope with an expected rise in passenger volume today, when the weekly cap for international arrivals would increase to 60,000 people. The requirement for a saliva-based polymerase chain reaction test upon landing is also to be waived. The CECC last week announced that a zero-quarantine policy for international arrivals could be implemented from Oct. 13, depending on the local