The families of the Australian couple missing after the Taiwan earthquake earlier this month have issued a statement saying they would only like the search for their loved ones resumed when it is safe for rescuers.

The search for Issac Sim Hwee Kok and Ann Neo Siew Choo was paused on April 12, almost two weeks after they were caught in the 7.2 magnitude earthquake, when it became too dangerous for rescue teams to operate.

The families have today said they “cannot allow further risk to the rescue teams”.

Taiwan Earthquake
The search for Issac Sim Hwee Kok and Ann Neo Siew Choo was suspended on April 12. (Supplied)

“The families dearly want them to be found but cannot allow this to be at the risk of someone else’s life”, they said in a statement today.

The Australian and Singaporean couple were holidaying in Taiwan when they were caught in the earthquake while hiking in the country’s Hualien region.

“The families would like to thank every member of the Hualien County Fire Department, especially Wu Zhao Yuan, Jian Hong Cheng, Wen Zong Hao, Wang Wei Jun, Lin Qifeng, Su Shengzhi, and the search and rescue dogs for their dedication and tireless efforts in the search for our family.

“The events have made us deeply appreciate the preciousness of life. 

“We ask that they resume the search and rescue operation once it is safe to do so. However we also ask that they do so by always putting their own safety first.”

Bodies pulled from the rubble in Taiwan

The family also expressed their thanks to officials and emergency services in Taiwan, and consular offices of Singapore and Australia.

“We hope that Hualien will be rebuilt as soon as possible so that more people can experience the beauty of the place and the warmth of its people.”

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