Rescuers reach sick Chinese hikers stranded for two days deep in giant panda country

Search party helps three people down from mountains near where another tourist died five years ago

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 10 October, 2017, 4:00pm
UPDATED : Tuesday, 10 October, 2017, 4:23pm

Three Chinese hikers were found alive in the mountains of southwestern China two days after they became sick and called police for help, Chinese media reported.

The hikers used a satellite phone to alert authorities in Sichuan province on Saturday while they were in the Wolong National Nature Reserve, a protected area in Wenchuan county for wild giant pandas.

Wenchuan county deputy police chief Liu Qilin said there was no record of the hikers signing in to enter the area and the trio might have been there illegally, Thepaper.cn reported.

The hikers set off on September 30 and planned to cross the reserve over the next few days but developed altitude sickness, the report said.

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Police sent a group of 16 rescuers, who reached the hikers on the weekend and were helping them out of the mountains. More rescuers were on the way to aid the effort.

One of the hikers was too weak to walk and had to be carried out over the very rough terrain.

“Rescuers have to take turns carrying her every 20 metres because she is too heavy and the path too difficult,” the report quoted Wolong police chief Wang Yong as saying.

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Police said hikers were often undeterred by previous fatalities in the area.

One woman hiker drowned five yeas ago when she tried to cross a gorge in the reserve close to where the trio were found on the weekend.

Officers said search parties had been sent out more than 10 times to rescue tourists since 2008.