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December 15, 2010

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Mountain students 'reckless'

SHANGHAI students led to safety from the Yellow Mountain in a rescue operation that cost the life of a young policeman have been accused of reckless behavior by web users.

A group of 18 climbers, 14 of them students or former students of Fudan University in the city, became stranded in a storm on the mountain in Anhui Province on Sunday.

They were rescued on Monday morning but 24-year-old Zhang Ninghai died when he fell from a cliff while escorting the climbers down the mountain.

The tragedy stirred up controversy on the web yesterday, with many netizens branding the young climbers irresponsible thrill-seekers and claiming they lacked safety awareness and were inadequately supervised.

"Have they thought about the grief they have brought to others while seeking excitement," asked a netizen, who claimed to be a colleague of the dead policeman, on

The post attracted more than 7,000 clicks by yesterday evening.

Similar questions were posed on microblogs, forums and BBS.

"A family was destroyed for some strangers' temporary fun," julianzhu said on Fudan BBS.

Netizens advised the 18 tourists to set up a fund to help Zhang's family.

Shi Chengzu, one of the 18 rescued climbers, told Shanghai Daily: "We feel very sorry about what happened and are discussing what we can do to help the family."

He said the group will issue a public statement soon, but made no comment on the barrage of online criticism.

Some web users claimed the team were unfamiliar with the route and had not asked a local guide to accompany them on the weekend trip.

The team leader, Hou Pan, had never been to the area and relied on GPS equipment, compass and map, according to an advertisement on the university BBS to recruit trip members.

Participants were only required to submit their time for running 5 kilometers as an entry requirement for the trip to the dangerous area.

"Their equipment was inadequate to protect them from a storm," said Zhang Haibin, an official with the, a company organizing student tourism. "It's dangerous in such an unfamiliar environment."

However, some web users also criticized the rescue services, saying they were poorly trained and lacked supervision.

Some asked why rescuers did not stay on the mountain for the night after they located the tourists, as Zhang died on the way down.

"It would have been safer if they'd waited until daybreak," said netizen frozensmile.

The Shanghai Tourism Administration yesterday advised locals to think twice before heading out to the hills.

"People should consider whether their body and mind can bear the outdoor environment and whether they can cope with an emergency situation," said Yao Shuoye, an official with the administration.


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