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January 21, 2010

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Student dies, 2 missing in drama turned tragic

A HIGH school student drowned and two were still missing when they acted as extras for a television drama at the request of their school headmaster in Hainan Province, China's southernmost tropical island province.

Over 100 students from Kongzi High School, a private high school, were selected to act as extras on January 15 in a drama named the "Liberation of Hainan Island."

Some teachers complained that students would be distracted from their preparation for final examination, and some suggested the school should buy insurance for students in case of accidents.

However, students were said to be very excited to take part. Before acting, none of the students were tested for swimming ability.

Next morning, students were bused to Mirs Bay, a known dangerous spot.

At 3pm, they were told to rush toward the camera in a line from the sea. Many shivered in fear of the fierce wind and high waves when suddenly about 10 were hit by a wave that dragged them into the water.

Some were saved swiftly while others were swept into the deep cold water. The students alerted the police. One student was pronounced dead at the hospital and two were still missing.

The police have sent helicopters and rescue teams in search of the missing. But the chance of survival was said to be zero, police said.

Parents of the missing walked around the scene, crying and shouting.

Liu Debin, the president of Kongzi High School, personally received 2,500 yuan (US$368) from the drama team to help find extras, according to the police. Liu has been detained by the police.


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