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French couple face fines for violating mountain entry regulation

12/01/2023 08:27 PM
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The French couple rescued in Pingtung County on Thursday is taken to Kaohsiung Municipal Siaogang Hospital for treatment that day. Photo courtesy of Pingtung County Bureau of Fire and Emergency Services Nov. 28, 2023
The French couple rescued in Pingtung County on Thursday is taken to Kaohsiung Municipal Siaogang Hospital for treatment that day. Photo courtesy of Pingtung County Bureau of Fire and Emergency Services Nov. 28, 2023

Taipei, Dec. 1 (CNA) A French couple who were rescued after going missing during a climb in Pingtung County in late November face fines after it was determined they did not apply for a mountainous area entry permit or have travel insurance, according to the county's Bureau of Fire and Emergency Services Friday.

The couple, a 38-year-old French man and his 30-year-old French girlfriend, began their climb on a trail in Wutoushan mountain, Wutai Township on Nov. 23. They were reported missing by friends after three days.

According to fire bureau chief Lee Pin-cheng (李彬正), the last location where the French couple were reported was on the border of Wutoushan and Beidawu mountains.

After a three-day search and rescue operation, the couple were finally found in the mountainous areas surrounding South Ailiao River on Beidawu mountain Nov. 28, the bureau said.

The couple were slightly injured and later taken to Kaohsiung Municipal Siaogang Hospital for treatment, after which they returned to their residence in Taiwan.

According to the bureau, its investigation determined that the couple violated Pingtung's mountainous area entry regulations by not applying for entry permits, and could face a fine of between NT$6,000 (US$190.7) to NT$30,000.

In addition, as the couple climbed without purchasing travel insurance covering mountain climbing and the cost of any rescue, they could also face a fine of NT$10,000 to NT$50,000, the bureau said.

Due to the complicated topography of the mountains, the search and rescue operation was highly difficult, taking 25 rescue personnel around three days to find the French couple.

Along the way, there was no signal, no water or proper trails for rescue personnel to follow, and several members of the rescue team were injured during the rescue mission, the bureau said.

(By Huang Hsueh-kuang and Evelyn Yang)

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