7 tourists crushed by falling boulder

Updated: 2015-03-20 07:47

By Huo Yan in Guilin, Guangxi and Su Zhou in Beijing(China Daily)

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A huge boulder tumbled down a mountain smashed into a dock teeming with people, killing seven and injuring 25 in the Guangxi Zhuang autonomous region on Thursday morning.

Four people died at the scene; three others were confirmed dead after being rushed to hospital.

The incident occurred at about 9:25 am.

By about 2:30 pm, 13 of the injured had been treated and were discharged from the hospital. Two of the injured received operation, and 10 others whose condition was said to be stable remained hospitalized for observation.

The dead and injured were mainly Chinese tourists. Eight of the injured were from Taiwan.

Yang Suicheng, 53, said he lost his 50-year-old sister from Yulin, Shaanxi province.

The accident happened at a dock for sightseeing boats at the Diecai Mountain scenic spot in Guilin, as numerous tourist groups were visiting the site. The falling boulder crushed tourists who were about to step onto a boat.

Broken rock fragments also injured people standing nearby. The diameter of the largest fragment was about 3 meters.

A witness called the scene "appalling".

Zhou Zhengxi, a safety guard at a nearby hotel, said falling rocks are not rare this time of year, given the weather and landscape.

"In the past, the government would remove loose rocks on the mountain to ensure safety," Zhou said, noting that the rocks are positioned above main traffic paths. "It's just the beginning of spring, so they haven't started to do the work." He suggested having signs to alert visitors about the possibility of falling rocks, "especially on rainy days".

According to the municipal government, a rescue plan was worked out as officials from local public security, firefighting, tourism, land and resources and other bureaus gathered at the site. The land bureau said it will check other places that could be at risk of similar accidents.

Li Jinzao, director of the China National Tourism Administration, urged travel agencies to pay special attention to tourism safety alerts and make prevention plans. "The scenic spots should also check the safety situation, eliminate the potential risks and prepare emergency plans," Li said. "Travel service providers should also ensure tourists' safety by providing alerts during the trip."

Contact the writer at huoyan@chinadaily.com.cn and suzhou@chinadaily.com.cn

(China Daily 03/20/2015 page3)