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English>>China Society

Missing men spark online search

By Li Yao (China Daily)

08:42, July 31, 2012

Three men who disappeared during a self-driving tour of Tibet have sparked searches both on land and online, as desperate family and friends use social media in an attempt to find them.

Huang Yan traveled to Tibet with two friends for a pilgrimage to pray for his mother, who is suffering from late-stage lung cancer. Huang and his friends Liu Ke and Wan Xubo set off from Zhengzhou, capital of Henan province, on July 20, but have not been in contact with anyone since July 26.

Huang's wife, Ding Jie, is three months pregnant and kept in touch with her husband through regular phone calls and his micro blog. Huang's last entry was posted at midnight on July 26, and stated he felt drowsy, was short of breath and had some chest discomfort after driving past a mountain with an altitude of 5 kilometers.

Ding turned to her micro blog to ask for help to search for her husband and his friends on Sunday afternoon, and was quickly inundated with sympathy and support from thousands of netizens.

Within hours of posting the entry, people close to Bomi county, where Huang's mobile phone was last active, and Nyingchi county, where he made several calls to book hotels, went to vehicle checkpoints to gather information about the car, a silver Pajero, and to hospitals, in case the men had been treated for altitude sickness.

Police in Bomi learned of the case on Monday, and with information from telecommunication operators, they were able to send a team to the location where the mobile phone was last used.

A police officer in Bomi said the station had responded to several similar cases. On rainy days, the mudslides may make the roads in the area dangerous, but the station had received fewer distress calls in the recent string of sunny days.

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