Man missing for 17 days after magnitude-6.8 earthquake found alive

The man said he had survived by eating wild fruits and drinking water.


September 23, 2022

CHENGDU – A hydropower station employee who had been missing after a magnitude-6.8 earthquake, on Sept 5 in Sichuan province, had been found alive on Wednesday.

Gan Yu, 28, was rescued on Wednesday morning by Ni Taigao, a villager in Yaojin village in Shimian, a county under the administration of Ya’an, Sichuan province, heard his yell for help in the mountain, according to Shen Xiaobing, head of the township government.

As the earthquake whose epicenter is in neighbouring Luding county, in Sichuan’s Ganzi Tibetan autonomous prefecture, damaged Ni’s house in the mountainous village, he had to rent a house down the mountain.

Two days ago, Ni returned to the village to feed his sheep and saw rescue workers who were looking for Gan pass his damaged house. As he was familiar with the mountain, he decided to live in a relative’s home in the village with the intention of looking for Gan during the daytime.

At 7 am on Wednesday, he took two bottles of beverages and some candies and set out from the relative’s home.

After walking for more than two hours, Ni heard somebody yelling for help on a mountain slope and found Gan lying in the forests.

Gan’s clothes were tattered and he had injuries on his legs. Ni immediately called the local government and took out a bottle of beverage for Gan to drink it slowly.

His mental state was good. He cried heartedly and said he was lucky to have met me, Ni said.

Gan said he had survived by eating wild fruits and drinking water.

At 11:30 am on Wednesday, the earthquake relief headquarters of Wanggangping township sent 18 rescue workers and two medics to the site where Gan had been found. A helicopter sent him to the Luding county seat where he is receiving treatment in hospital.

The site where Gan had been found in Yaojin has a straight-line distance of more than 10 kilometers from the Wandong Hydropower Station where Gan works. But there are several peaks in the middle, and the road is steep, Shen said.

The station is in Wandong village, Detuo town in Luding. Gan’s colleague Luo Yong in the station was happy to learn that he had been rescued and hoped to see him in person.

After the earthquake, Gan and Luo stayed in the ruined station without mobile phone signal or food.

On Sept 7, the two men walked about 20 or 30 kilometers outside the station. As Gan was physically weak, he could not walk further and chose to wait for rescue workers. Luo continued to walk. On the morning of Sept 8, Luo was rescued by igniting a fire, and the smoke attracted a helicopter.

After his rescue, Luo joined a rescue team and tried in vain to look for Gan.

The earthquake killed 93 people in Sichuan, with 55 in Ganzi and 38 in Ya’an.

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