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December 18, 2010

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Tears as students remember their rescuer

EIGHTEEN Shanghai climbers who were rescued from the Yellow Mountain in Anhui Province plan to set up a fund to commemorate the young policeman who died leading them to safety.

The group, most of whom are current or former Fudan University students, hope to aid underprivileged children at Zhang Ninghai's old primary school as a way of remembering him.

Two of the climbers attended the funeral of 24-year-old Zhang in Anhui Province yesterday, while the rest took part in a memorial ceremony at Fudan, alongside hundreds of the university's students.

Students struck a bell, bowed and placed flowers in front of a portrait of Zhang in the university's Yan Yuan garden. One of the rescued students knelt down in tears in the garden.

"I will never forget that someone has died for me," said Chen Yan, a member of the group.

The 16 plan to meet Zhang's parents at a later date, after Zhang's father declined their offer to visit this weekend.

The 18 climbers have admitted that their reckless behavior and inadequate preparation led to the tragedy on Monday.

More than half of the group had little outdoor experience before the trip to an undeveloped area which is closed to the public.

Moreover, their GPS equipment failed after becoming waterlogged.

When the group became lost on Sunday, they called for help using cell phones.

They were led to safety on Monday morning. However, tragedy struck when Zhang fell from a cliff to his death while escorting the students down the mountain.


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