A man who ventured out on a glass-bottom bridge in China’s northeast was left clinging to the side for dear life after gale-force winds blew away some floor panels, leaving gaping holes in the structure hundreds of feet above the ground, local officials said.
The episode occurred on Saturday at Piyan Mountain in Longjing, China, state media said, citing the city government. It spurred a frantic attempt to rescue the man, whom the authorities did not identify. He inched his way to safety, helped or coaxed — news accounts varied — by a rescue crew. A photo of what state media said was the moment of terror went viral.
The harrowing episode left many people in China deeply rattled, spurring discussions about what could have been a nightmarish ending and raising questions about the safety of many of the country’s glass bridges, walkways and viewing decks.
“This is exactly why I dare not step on a bridge like that,” one tourist identified as Wadetian wrote on Weibo, the Chinese social media site. “I broke out in a cold sweat just looking at it,” another user said.
The Piyan Mountain bridge, which overlooks a bend in the Hailan River, is 100 meters high (about 330 feet). Up to 1,500 people have crossed at a time, and the bridge is advertised as offering an experience akin to “hanging above a bottomless chasm.”
According to state media reports, around 12:45 p.m. Saturday, winds of up to 90 miles per hour tore through the picturesque tourist site, blowing out parts of the glass deck and trapping the man, described as a tourist.
Rescue workers were called to the scene. But after about 35 minutes, the reports said, he crawled to safety and was transferred to hospital for a psychiatric assessment.
The man was later released after his emotional and physical health “stabilized,” The Jilin Daily, the official provincial newspaper, reported, adding that the site of the accident had since been closed while inspectors checked for hazards.
In recent years, the government has attempted to control the rush of glass bridge construction and strengthen safety inspections, and new standards for building the attractions started this month.
Chris Buckley and Yan Zhuang contributed reporting. Liu Yi contributed research.