China: 1 tourist killed, 18 hurt by falling rocks

BEIJING (AP) — One tourist was killed and 18 others were injured Sunday by falling rocks at a scenic site in northern China, the official Xinhua News Agency reported.

Rocks that may have been loosened by recent heavy rains crashed through a cliff-side walkway and fell onto the heads of a group of tourists at the Jinsixia Gorge in Shaanxi province, according to Xinhua and a woman reached by phone at the site’s management office.

Two of the injured were in critical condition, according to Xinhua and the woman, who declined to be identified by name, as is common among Chinese bureaucrats. She said no foreigners were hurt in the morning accident.

The woman said she hadn’t been informed of the death of one of the tourists.

The gorge was closed to visitors following the accident.

Like much of northern China, the area has seen unusually heavy rain recently, although the past two days have been dry, according to the woman and Xinhua.

Jinsixia boasts natural attractions such as caves and forests and the area is home to several tourist resorts.

China is the world’s third-biggest tourist destination and has tried to boost safety at its main attractions. However, poor management, massive crowds and shoddy facilities have prompted numerous complaints and occasional stampedes and other dangerous situations.

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