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December 29, 2009

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Rescuers find lost hiker group

NINE Shanghai hikers were found yesterday after being reported lost for a day on a mountain in neighboring Zhejiang Province, local officials said. No one was injured.

Rescuers in Zhejiang's Wuyi County found the hikers at 9:55am yesterday after 11 teams were organized to search the 1,560-meter-high Niutou Mountain.

"Luckily, all of them were safe when we found them, despite the heavy snow and low temperature in the mountains," said Wang Yinlong, deputy director of the Wuyi Tourism Bureau.

Wang said the mountain landscapes posed difficulties for rescue efforts but "the ending was good."

Concern for the hikers' safety was high, given that three Shanghai backpackers died during a flash flood in Zhejiang's Luxi Gorge in August.

The six men and three women hiked to the mountains in Wuyi County about 8am on Saturday morning after leaving Shanghai on Thursday in a rented sedan.

But they made a call to the sedan driver, Wang Lifeng, about 11am, saying they were lost in the mountain, said the authorities.

Wang lost touch with the hikers after that, but waited overnight at the foot of the mountain to pick them up.

Wang reported them missing to the local government at 10am on Sunday - about the same time that the local police received emergency calls from the hikers.

Blocked by a sudden snow on Sunday morning in the mountain areas, rescue teams found it hard to locate the trapped hikers although they kept in touch with cell phones, the authorities said.


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