Chinese student, 22, killed while hiking in Mount Rainier National Park in US

‘Bright, energetic’ postgraduate at Washington State University got into difficulty crossing the White River, park officials say

PUBLISHED : Monday, 30 July, 2018, 7:20pm
UPDATED : Tuesday, 31 July, 2018, 11:23am

A Chinese woman who had been studying in the United States was killed in an accident while hiking in Mount Rainier National Park in Washington state, park officials and her alma mater said over the weekend.

Yue Qing, 22, was swept away by fast-moving waters on Wednesday while trying to cross the West Fork of the White River on the Northern Loop Trail, park officials said on Sunday.

It is not clear whether she was walking alone or as part of a group, but other hikers saw her fall into the water but were unable to save her.

After an initial aerial search failed to locate Yue, a ground crew found her body on Friday with help from a helicopter from the King county sheriff’s office.

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Yue enrolled on a master’s degree course in horticulture at Washington State University (WSU) last autumn, the college said.

She had graduated from Lanzhou University of Technology with a bachelor’s degree in food science earlier in 2017.

Richard T. Koenig, an associate professor at the College of Agricultural, Human and Natural Resource Sciences at WSU, issued an email statement to students and faculty on Saturday.

“This is a devastating loss for Yue’s family, and also for the friends and colleagues who came to know her at WSU,” he said.

“She was a bright, energetic young woman.”

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Zhang Huan, a former roommate at the Northwestern Washington Research & Extension Centre in Mount Vernon, told the South China Morning Post that Yue had been a big fan of the outdoor life.

“She was energetic and always loved exploring nature,” she said. “I enjoyed the time I spent with her when we were roommates.”

Yue spent a semester at Mount Vernon before transferring to the university’s Pullman campus in January, the college said. She was spending the summer conducting horticulture research in the city of Prosser when the accident happened.

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Chip Jenkins, the superintendent of the national park, warned of the dangers of hiking in the region.

“River crossings can be extremely hazardous this time of year,” he said in a press release.

“These cold, swift-flowing waters require a high level of caution, even for those hikers with extensive experience, knowledge and skills.”

Additional reporting by Associated Press