24 hours stuck in Cuu Khuc cave during Taiwan earthquake
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24 hours stuck in Cuu Khuc cave during Taiwan earthquake

On March 29, Namrata Kohli and her husband arrived in Taiwan from India for a 12-day trip.

This is a road running through two winding cliffs, so it is called Cuu Khuc.

Cuu Khuc Cave in Taroko Garden, Taiwan.

While returning via the trail at around 8 a.m., Taiwan’s strongest earthquake in 25 years occurred, sending tremors that could be felt across the island.

`When the earthquake started, we ran away as fast as we could. Blocks of rocks started falling. A rock fell on my husband’s face, injuring his cheek and ear,` said Kohli.

When the shaking subsided, they ran toward the car parked in Cuu Khuc cave and realized they were trapped because falling rocks blocked the exit.

A few minutes later, a group of people approached the couple.

`Local people here have been taught since childhood how to respond when an earthquake occurs. They told me not to go anywhere, staying in caves is the safest,` said Kohli.

As the hours passed, more and more people entered the cave to hide from the landslides.

At night, hunger and thirst strike, because most tourists only bring snacks.

`Taiwanese people are so calm, considerate and kind. The kindness between people is the most wonderful thing at that time,` said Kohli.

24 hours stuck in Cuu Khuc cave during Taiwan earthquake

Kohli and her husband took photos before the earthquake (left photo) and surviving tourists sought shelter (right photo).

The next morning, there was no sign of rescuers, while aftershocks continued to occur.

Because food and water were running out, the Kohli couple and 8 people decided to leave the hideout and walk to a hotel about 7 km away.

`This is an extremely dangerous and scary walk, because rocks and soil from above are waiting to fall, threatening to bury you. My faith was shaken many times as I searched for a way out,` said Kohli.

Outside, the roads were completely destroyed.

24 hours stuck in Cuu Khuc cave during Taiwan earthquake

The rocks that the tourist group had to overcome on the way to find the hotel.

At the hotel, Kohli contacted his family in India and said he was still safe.

At the hotel, a doctor found that the wound on Kohli’s husband’s ear was quite serious and could require the removal of one ear if not treated promptly.

On the same day, the couple was taken back to Hualien.

On April 5, the couple returned to Singapore, where Kohli has worked for more than 6 years, cutting short their trip to Taiwan 5 days earlier.

`I feel like I am alive to tell this story. I am extremely grateful. Many bad things could have happened, but in the end my husband and I survived,` she recounted on April 11.

The earthquake in Taiwan has so far killed at least 13 people, injured more than 1,100 people, and 6 people are still missing.

Kohli added that she is now grateful for even the `little things` that she used to hate.

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