100-meter-high glass bridge shatters and leaves tourists stranded at the top
By David STEIN
In China, a tourist was stranded 100 meters high on a glass bridge whose panels broke under the effect of strong winds.
The incident took place on Mount Piyan, near the city of Longjing in northeast China. As tourists walked on a glass floor deck, the structure was swept by strong winds which caused the rupture of several of its transparent panels, trap one of the visitors.
Images shared on the Weibo social network show the man clinging to the railings and surrounded by gaping spaces, suspended 100 meters above the ground. It took over 30 minutes and the combined efforts of firefighters, police and tourist staff to save him.
After managing to get to safety, the tourist was taken to hospital. The man escaped, according to a statement from Xinhua safe and sound despite great fear. However, the incident sparked heated debates about the danger inherent in these bridges.
“This is exactly why I dare not step on a bridge like this,” said one user on Weibo. “How often has the bridge been serviced? another asked amid comments calling the scene a “nightmare.”
Popular but not without incident
Glass bridges are increasingly popular with tourists in China, and construction has increased in recent years. According to the BBC, there are as many as 2,300 these glass bridges across the country and several of them broke records when they opened.
In 2016, Hunan Province opened a 430 meters long, six meters wide glass bridge perched above the Zhangjiajie Canyon. In 2020, Guangdong Province unveiled a 526 meters suspended structure in the Three Gorges Valley of Huangchuan.
However, these constructions are not without incident. In 2019, a tourist died and six others were injured after falling from a slippery glass bridge in Guangxi province. In 2015, one of the panels of a walkway in the Henan area cracked under the feet of tourists.
Closed structures for security control
In 2018, Hebei Province closed its Thirty glass attractions–Bridges, walkways and observation decks – to carry out security checks. The authorities then established a list of technical standards and guidelines for the construction of these structures.
According to these rules, as reported by Xinhua, glass bridges should not be constructed in areas high seismic activity and should be closed in case of bad weather conditions. The number of visitors should also be limited to three per square meter.
Following this latest incident, the 400-meter-long Mount Piyan Bridge was closed and an investigation was launched. The local government has announced plans to conduct a full safety inspection of all tourist attractions.