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Mountain Rock Caused Seven Deaths in Guilin – Natural Disaster or Human Guilt?

Published: Mar. 20, 2015

At about 09:30 on March 19, 2015, a huge rock fell from the mountain killing 7 and injuring 25 visitors at the Folded Brocade Hill (Diecai Hill), one of the most famous attraction sites in Guilin. By 18:00 of the same day, 23 of the 25 injured had left the hospital and the other two were still undergoing treatment.

 What’s the cause of the tragedy?
According to preliminary investigations from the authorities, it is an abrupt natural geological disaster. Folded Brocade Hill scenic area belongs to a typical karst landscape. The stone fell due to unstable rock formations, long-term weathering and increasing weight from the rain. Some of the rescuers also stated the same.

However, could it be possible that there was no human cause? Is there anyone else that could be held accountable for the accident rather than simply blaming ‘Nature’?

A local woman first answered this question: The safety investigation itself on the mountain last year may have been the cause behind the rock fall. She said: “Rocks on the mountain were originally very stable, but they (the investigation team) pried here and there, making the stable rocks loose.”

Some visitors also noted that the falling rocks could somehow be related to the construction of toilets right up near the accident site. But this has not been confirmed by the officials yet.

In addition, there are only small warning signs beside the mountain. The scenic area administration should be responsible for properly estimating the security of the situation and arranging safer routes for tourists. The travel agency who arranged such a dangerous route without complete consideration is also guilty of the accident.

All members in TravelChinaGuide have a deep feeling of grief over the tragedy. Fortunately the Folded Brocade Hill is not a regular attraction included in TravelChinaGuide’s itineraries, and we had no groups affected by this accident. We devoutly wish the tragedy will never happen again. May the dead rest peacefully in heaven and the injured recover swiftly.

 For future travelers’ sake, here are some travel tips considering geological changes: 
Stay away from the places with potential geological hazards, especially on rainy days. Pay attention to the warning signs inside the attraction sites;
Watch out for swollen rivers due to spring runoff, lakes and swamps, particularly in northern China recently, and keep away from them;
Avoid visiting wild attraction sites; 
Make detailed travel plans and good preparations if attending adventurous tourism activities, such as climbing mountains, exploration treks, and rafting.

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