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37 tourists trapped in Tibet as bus breaks down
Latest Updated by 2006-07-13 09:01:01
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37 tourists trapped in Tibet as bus breaks down
Longqiwan, a quiet resort near Dapeng Fortress

TEN tourists fainted at a tourist site in Tibet due to lack of oxygen Monday (July 10) after their coach, carrying 37 people, broke down at an altitude of 5,000 meters and was trapped for nearly one hour.

Police and doctors were called in for help. The tourists were sent to hospital, and all but one was discharged Tuesday. The remaining one, identified by her surname Zhao, was being treated at the Lhasa Military Hospital for symptoms of brain stroke.

The 10 were among a tour group of 37 people organized by a Tibet travel agency called Shiji Guolu. They went from Lhasa to Gnammtsho Monday after arriving in Lhasa on Sunday.

A man surnamed Yu, from Beijing, said the coach broke down twice on the road to Gnammtsho before it stopped for an hour at 5:30 p.m. "The tour guide said the coach could be fixed in 10 minutes," said Yu.

However, it took much longer than that to fix the coach and passengers started to faint. The tour guide called his superior for help, but the latter's mobile phone was off. Tourists had to call police and tourist officials. Yu called Beijing police, which then alerted the Ministry of Public Security. The first rescuers came 40 minutes later.

All the sick passengers were sent to hospital, but all but Zhao were discharged the next day. They continued their trip, because Shiji Guolu would not refund the fee.

Guo Guo, director of the Lhasa tourism bureau, said the bureau had ordered the travel agency to change the coach and tour guide for the tour group.

"The tourism bureau will continue to investigate the issue," said Guo. He said the tour agency made several mistakes, such as bringing the tourists to 5,000-meter-high Gnammtsho the day after the tourists arrived at 3,000-meter-high Lhasa.

"The tourists should stay in Lhasa for two to three days to get used to the high altitude," he said. The tour guide should have asked for help from passers-by immediately after the vehicle broke down, he said.

Editor: Wing

By: Helen Deng Source: Szdaily web edition
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