Update: Four dead from vehicle that went missing while crossing Lop Nur Wild Camel National Nature Reserve without authorization
Published: Jul 29, 2023 05:25 PM
Lop Nur Wild Camel National Nature Reserve. Photo:VCG

Lop Nur Wild Camel National Nature Reserve. Photo:VCG

One of the vehicles carrying four people on a driving holiday has gone missing while crossing the Xinjiang Lop Nur Wild Camel National Nature Reserve without authorization, resulting in four deaths, according to media reports and local police from Ruoqiang County in Northwest China's Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region on Friday.

The convoy departed from the city of Dunhuang in Gansu Province neighboring Xinjiang in Northwest China on July 22. After they drove through the nature reserve without authorization, one vehicle from the convoy was reported missing on Wednesday, reportedly with four people in the vehicle.

Following extensive search and rescue operations, the missing vehicle was located on Thursday, with three individuals found dead, and one still missing. The rest of the convoy members have safely returned to Dunhuang.

Upon receiving the report, Ruoqiang county police immediately dispatched a rescue team in collaboration with medical and emergency departments to conduct search and rescue efforts. The search and rescue operation is still ongoing, the police notice said.

On late Saturday, The Beijing News reported that the last missing person was also found dead, citing Ruoqiang and Dunhuang polices.

Industry experts said on Saturday that entering the Lop Nur in summer is very risky, as surface temperatures in the area would reach as high as 70 C. They advised people not to enter the area from June to September each year due to softness of the ground which often leads to vehicles becoming stuck in the sand.

They believe that the disappearance of the vehicle may be related to the fact that they did not bring satellite phones and lacked sufficient logistical support.

One is not able to walk out of the Lop Nur on foot. And if one's car broke down without communication capabilities, the vehicle is essentially rendered an "iron coffin," observers noted.

The Lop Nur Wild Camel National Nature Reserve protects one of the three remaining habitats of the Wild Bactrian camel, a critically endangered species. Located in Xinjiang, it covers an area of 78,000 square kilometers, and is a typical hyper-arid desert-type nature reserve.

Global Times