New footage emerges in search for two Australian hikers still missing after Taiwan earthquake

Hikers’ clothes sent to Taiwan by family to aid rescue with help of sniffer dogs

Shweta Sharma
Tuesday 09 April 2024 08:01 BST
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CCTV captures moment deadly Taiwan earthquake hits

New CCTV footage of the last sighting of two missing Australian-Singaporean hikers has emerged as the search for them continued six days after a massive earthquake hit Taiwan.

Neo Siew Choo and Sim Hwee Kok have been missing since a 7.4 magnitude earthquake struck on 3 April at 7.58am. It was the largest earthquake in Taiwan in 25 years and left 13 people dead and more than 1,100 injured.

The couple is among six people still unaccounted for since the earthquake with its epicentre hit Hualien. The two are believed to have begun their hike in the Taroko National Park, just minutes before the massive earthquake rocked the region.

The earthquake set off significant landslides in the national park which is just 24km from the epicentre.

The 14-second CCTV clip released by Taiwan’s National Fire Agency shows the couple getting off a bus at Shakadang Trail inside Taroko National Park at about 7.20am last Wednesday.

CCTV footage from inside a bus shows the last time missing Singaporean-Australian were seen before earthquake in Taiwan
CCTV footage from inside a bus shows the last time missing Singaporean-Australian were seen before earthquake in Taiwan ( Taiwan’s National Fire Agency)

Another clip recorded by a German tourist and shared with the Guardian showed the couple wearing shorts and T-shirt and walking on the trail about 500m down the path just 25 minutes before the earthquake.

Special search and rescue team leader Chen Yifeng said the part of the trail was buried under huge rocks and debris after it collapsed during the temblor.

This screen grab from a video taken on April 6, 2024 and released by the Hualien County Fire Department shows a rescuer locating the body of an earthquake victim with the help of Roger, an eight-year-old labrador
This screen grab from a video taken on April 6, 2024 and released by the Hualien County Fire Department shows a rescuer locating the body of an earthquake victim with the help of Roger, an eight-year-old labrador (Hualien County Fire Department /)

“As for the four foreigners, two of them are Australian-Singaporean dual nationals, there is one Indian and one Canadian,” Hualien mayor Chen-Wei said.

The bodies of three other people who were missing in the national park have been recovered.

The family of the two Singaporean passport holders has given the pair’s clothing items to rescuers in Taiwan to aid search with sniffer dogs, according to the Hualien County Fire Department.

Fallen rocks and debris block a vehicle passage near the Taroko National Park, following earthquake
Fallen rocks and debris block a vehicle passage near the Taroko National Park, following earthquake (EPA)

Three dogs named Wilson, Hero and Fancy have been part of the rescue team since 5 April and Wilson was the first to discover two casualties.

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