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Rescuers track down missing hikers

By Wang Yizhou (Global Times)

08:49, September 11, 2012

Seven hikers, including four expatriates from Shanghai, were found Sunday after getting lost while hiking in a remote area of Fujian Province, local media reported Monday.

Local authorities dispatched a search party of more than 300 people to find the group, who spent 36 hours Saturday and Sunday lost in Shibachong Creek, a hilly area 20 kilometers outside of Fuzhou, Fujian Province, the Strait News reported.

The group, which included six Shanghai residents, including three French, two Chinese and one Russian, had initially planned to finish the hike Saturday evening, said Mei Xiaodong, the woman who organized the trek.

The group told a local driver surnamed Ye to pick them up Saturday evening at an entrance to Shibachong Creek 10 kilometers from the village of Xibian, where they set off that morning.

However, the local guide they hired to take them through the scenic area came down with food poisoning, slowing their hike, Mei said. When dusk fell, they got lost in the dense forest where there wasn't a mobile phone signal.

"It was a bit scary because we were out of food and didn't have tents or sleeping bags to keep out the cold at night," Mei told the Global Times.

The following morning, they met two other lost hikers who had some extra food that they shared with the group.

The driver called police around noon Sunday after waiting more than 10 hours without word from the group.

The local government soon organized a search party, which included local police, villagers and a search and rescue team. Rescuers found the lost hikers around 8 pm Sunday, the Strait News reported.

Mei said they thought they would be safe with the help of the local guide, though she acknowledged that no one in the group was familiar with the route.

Much of Shibachong Creek is undeveloped, but the area still attracts many hikers. In August 2010, six hikers were lost for six days before being rescued, according to a local news portal.

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