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Surging river water kills four hikers in Taiwan

[TAIPEI] Surging waters triggered by torrential rain left four people dead and one missing in Taiwan after they were swept away while hiking down a river canyon, officials said Monday.

Dramatic footage from local media showed a huge wave rushing down the Beishi River in New Taipei City where 24 people on a company trip were hiking Sunday, despite official warnings of torrential rain.

Hiking along river canyons, known locally as river tracing, is increasingly popular in Taiwan, with participants wading and climbing through the water.

Six of the group were swept away by the wave but one 15-year-old girl managed to grab hold of some driftwood and later scrambled to safety.

The body of a 13-year-old girl was found Monday - the bodies of her mother and two adults were pulled from the river Sunday, said the New Taipei City fire department.

Footage on the Apple Daily website showed rescue workers pulling one of the women from the water and desperately trying to resuscitate her, but in vain.

Rescuers are continuing to search for a missing 44-year-old woman.

The teenage survivor climbed onto a rock to wait for the water to recede before walking to nearby houses to seek help around dawn, her mother Chen Li-hsiang told reporters.

"It was dark so she sat on the rock for the water to go down... She is a calm child. She waited till the water receded so she can safely get on shore... and walked on her own to seek help when dawn came," Ms Chen said.

Taiwan has been hit by heavy rains in the past week triggering flooding that partially shut down the Taoyuan International Airport near Taipei.