KATHMANDU A Taiwan hiker rescued 47 days after disappearing in the foothills of the Himalayas and just days after his girlfriend died is recovering well in hospital in the Nepali capital of Kathmandu, his doctor said on Friday.
Liang Sheng-yueh, who turned 21 on Friday, went missing with girlfriend Liu Chen-chun, 19, in early March while they were trekking in the remote Ganesh Himal area in northwestern Nepal.
Liang, his feet riddled with maggots and his hair infested with lice, was picked up by a rescue helicopter on Wednesday. The body of Liu, who died this week, was taken to hospital for a post mortem.
"I feel very happy now," a confused-looking Liang, his head shaved, told reporters after cutting a birthday cake from his hospital bed, adding that he had not lost hope during his ordeal.
The trekkers lost their trail after a snowstorm. They had no local guide or porter. Liang and Liu survived on snow, water and salt he was carrying, but Liu eventually died from starvation.
"He has started taking normal food and is walking with the help of physiotherapists," said Chakra Raj Pandey, medical director at the Grande International Hospital.
Tens of thousands of foreign hikers who visit Nepal every year are a key source of income in the cash-strapped nation that is home to Mount Everest.
(Reporting by Gopal Sharma; Editing by Nick Macfie)