A man who ventured onto a glass floor bridge in northeast China clung to the side for a dear life after storm winds blew away some floor slabs and left gaping holes in the structure several hundred feet above the ground.
The episode occurred on Saturday on Piyan Mountain in Longjing, China, state media said, citing the city government. It spurred a desperate attempt to rescue the man whom authorities failed to identify. He made his way to safety, helped or persuaded – rescue reports varied – from a rescue team. A photo of what the state media said was the moment of the terror that went viral.
The harrowing episode deeply shook many people in China, sparked discussions about a potentially nightmarish ending and raised questions about the safety of many of the country’s glass bridges, sidewalks and observation decks.
“That’s exactly why I don’t dare step on such a bridge,” wrote a tourist identified as Wadetian on Weibo, the Chinese social media site. “I broke out in a cold sweat just looking at it,” said another user.
The Piyan Mountain Bridge overlooks a curve of the Hailan River. Up to 1,500 people have crossed at the same time, and the bridge is supposed to offer an experience similar to “hanging over a bottomless abyss”.
According to state media reports, winds of up to 90 miles per hour tore through the scenic tourist attraction at around 12:45 p.m. on Saturday, bleeding out parts of the glass deck and trapping the man referred to as a tourist.
Rescue workers were called to the scene. But after about 35 minutes, the reports say, he crawled to safety and was taken to the hospital for a psychiatric evaluation.
The man was later released after his emotional and physical health “stabilized”, the provincial official newspaper The Jilin Daily reported, adding that the accident site had now been closed while inspectors searched for danger.
In recent years the government has tried to control the onslaught of glass bridge construction and step up security inspections. This month, new standards for building the attractions were introduced.
Chris Buckley and Yan Zhuang contributed to the coverage. Liu Yi contributed to the research.