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August 25, 2009

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Daredevil canoeists strike strife

FIREFIGHTERS have rescued 173 tourists stranded in a valley in a mountain tourist park in southwest China's Chongqing Municipality after they set off in canoes after ignoring orders against it.

Firefighters went to the Ayi River scenic area in Chongqing's Pengshui County after calls from one of the tourists about 8:50pm on Saturday, yesterday's Chongqing Times reported.

Canoe trips run through a 13-kilometer section of a deep gorge of the Ayi.

The trip takes about six hours, a park worker surnamed Liu told the newspaper, so they stop people venturing out at 3pm each day.

On Saturday, the group wanted to canoe down the river arrived about 4pm but were refused permission, Liu said.

While park workers were explaining the rules to the tourists, some of them jumped into the inflatable canoes and set off, he said.

But with night falling along the fast-flowing river, some of the tourists started to get scared and one called for help on his mobile phone.

"There were stranded tourists all along the river screaming for help," a firefighter told the newspaper.

About 10:30pm, rescuers helped tourists in the last canoe reach the end.


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