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November 12, 2013

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Tourist dies in Great Wall fall ‘as safety warning ignored’

A SHANGHAI tourist died in a fall from the Simatai section of the Great Wall in Beijing on Saturday during a hiking trip, Beijing police said yesterday.

According to media reports, the group undertook the hike despite being told by a forest ranger that conditions were unsafe.

The 45-year-old woman, surnamed Dai, slipped and fell down a 400-meter cliff while descending a steep section of the wall, said a team leader surnamed Yang.

Her hand may have slipped, and loose brickwork may also have been a factor, Yang said.

Dai was among around 100 people taking part in a hike organized by an outdoor activities website, through mountains near the Simatai section of the wall, 120 kilometers from downtown Beijing.

This section is known for its steepness and narrowness.

Dai took part while on a business trip in Beijing, Yang said. Her parents have left for the capital.

A gale was blowing in Miyun County, where the section is located, and a local forest ranger tried to stop the group, Metro Express reported yesterday

The ranger is said to have told the group that the mountain has not been developed as a scenic spot and that walkers had got lost there in the past.

But this advice was ignored, according to the newspaper.

In recent years, adventure trips to undeveloped, rugged and often dangerous scenic areas have become popular, but this has brought an increased numbers of deaths and injuries in accidents.

A tourist and nine rescuers were taken off uninhabited Bodaozui Island in Shengsi County in neighboring Zhejiang Province last month, after being stranded overnight.

There have been calls for the government to regulate such activities to ensure that anyone taking part has the necessary training and proper equipment.

However, at present, hikers are not required to register.



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