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3 Japanese tourists dead in snowstorms near Great Wall of China

29 Comments

Three elderly Japanese tourists died after being trapped in sudden heavy snowstorms during a visit to the Great Wall of China, state media reported Monday.

Two women, aged 62 and 68, and a 76-year-old Japanese man were confirmed dead after they were caught by a snowstorm on a mountain near the wall in China's northern Hebei province, according to a local government statement cited by Xinhua news agency.

Another Japanese tourist, 59, and a Chinese man who works for a Japanese tour agency were receiving medical treatment at a local clinic, Xinhua added.

The group started to climb the mountain from the Beijing side as part of a tour of the Great Wall on Saturday morning.

They were trapped overnight on Saturday after reaching a mountainous region in Huailai county in the neighboring province of Hebei, the statement said.

In Tokyo, Chief Cabinet Secretary Osamu Fujimura said Japan was working with China. "We are grateful for the Chinese cooperation," he told reporters.

Heavy snowstorms swept across northern China over the weekend, with the most extreme weather hitting Beijing, Hebei and the northern Inner Mongolia region on Saturday night.

Beijing was forced to issue its second-highest blizzard alert on Sunday after the Chinese capital was hit by an unusually early snowstorm.

In the 24 hours until Sunday morning the city saw 5.8 centimeters of precipitation -- rain and snow combined, Xinhua said.

Hundreds of cars were stuck in the snow across China's capital over the weekend.

Authorities activated Beijing's public heating ahead of the planned Nov 15 date, the state-run China Daily said.

© Japan Today

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29 Comments
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A couple of weeks ago a couple of J tourists went missing while touring the Grand Canyon but they did not make the news in Japan. Why is it that the two people who died in China did? And, unfortunately, there is no mention that about 150 Chinese rescue workers did their best soon after the accident.

-18 ( +3 / -20 )

For your reference, the man who went missing at the Grand Canyon did make the news in Japan, including on Japan Today.

What were these oldies doing climbibng a mountain in freezing weather?

-3 ( +4 / -7 )

You mean...what were Japanese tourists doing in China in this day and age?

-1 ( +4 / -5 )

WakarimasenNov. 05, 2012 - 02:13PM JST

What were these oldies doing climbibng a mountain in freezing weather?

Didn't you know that's what the octogenarians do in Japan? Considering it was a "sudden" snowstorm, I doubt they were prepared for it, nor knew it was coming. Bummer to hear they died :( RIP.

2 ( +4 / -2 )

I remember one of my Chinese lecturers at uni telling me how he did Badaling in the midle of winter and the air froze in his lungs practically and he had to be stretchered off...it gets MIGHTY cold, but at this time of year? wow.Sign of a cold winter to come.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Everyone knew of this massive snowstorm coming apparently, yet they decided to climb a mountain and go look at a part of the wall which is not maintained or normally accessible.

Why did the tour guide agree to it? Why were they so determined to go that they didnt heed the weather warnings?

4 ( +6 / -2 )

Climbing Great Wall of China during a snowstorm is right up there with climbing on top of roofs during a typhoon.

5 ( +6 / -1 )

What is it with old people climbing mountains in Japan? Do it while your young!

-10 ( +1 / -11 )

What is it with old people climbing mountains in Japan?

The Great Wall of China is not in Japan.

15 ( +14 / -0 )

Darwin. Was the tour guide one of the regs here that waves a flag but doesn't have a clue as to what they're going? There is no need to be off the wall - and more so at the age these people are. When a J folks going to realise that when they're old, they can't do this stuff anymore?

-4 ( +3 / -7 )

The Great Wall of China is not in Japan.

Lol! I meant was is it with old in Japan climbing mountains. Good catch though!

-3 ( +2 / -5 )

Same old story, just a different place.

Annually, we see these stories locally where several senior citizens get caught in a sudden heat wave or cold weather.

To answer darknuts: these senior citizens have a lot more free time now that they have retired, thus they're going around.

6 ( +6 / -0 )

I can't trust the company which planned this travel. Before, this company caused the same accident as this time, and became a problem. The accident was caused last time in Hokkaido in Japan. Several people were killed in hypothermia. The guide of this tour company makes light of natural power.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Shameful news politics, they probably went to the same media school in the US. Rescue people are the same all over the world, if you call us we are coming!

0 ( +0 / -0 )

When a J folks going to realise that when they're old, they can't do this stuff anymore?

Folks, all this talk about "old people" not doing this sort of stuff anymore is ageism and ignorance. People who are conditioned to hiking and walking and climbing (and many other activities) can keep those up well into their 70s and even 80s. It depends entirely on their health and fitness not the date on their birth certificate.

I know a man who is still teaching downhill skiing with full sponsorship (that's all clothing & equipment for free to advertise the latest products) at 83! He does it because he loves it, because his employers don't want him to quit and and because he gets to ski for free at his work-day's end!

If people start sitting around doing nothing with their free time & waiting to die as soon as they turn 60 that's a waste of a life. So-called "elderly" people are one of society's greatest under-used resources. (Blame the youth-obsessed pop-culture conditioning.)

But if a tour company with a poor record is taking unfit people to places that they have no business being--well, that's another issue that as nothing to do with AGE.

3 ( +5 / -2 )

Sad news. The travel company should be held responsible - before all people, they should know the weather condition and destination safety level on their clients' schedule, then advise and act accordingly - this is common sense and code of conduct of the trade.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

"Old people"...when is old old? i'm almost 70 and still teach and train in Aikido as well as serious sparring in my dojo...my sensei's in Hawaii and Kimiidera are years ahead of me and kick butt on a regular basis...the problem here w/the snow storm was they were not properly prepared for their hike/climb...my wife and i run a tour company in Yellowstone and Grand Teton and we insist that all tour members are properly equipped for their outdoor experience...their tour operators are at fault here.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

What is it with old people climbing mountains in Japan? Do it while your young!

The Great Wall of CHINA has been relocated to Japan? This is news to me........

RIP to the tourists who were killed.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

That's really too bad. That's a really tough region to hike in, I've been there. If they weren't carrying the right kind of cold weather gear they were in trouble from the start. Too bad nobody did check the weather report. It seems others knew it was coming. Ignorance is not always bliss.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

I'm surprised at all the posts aimed at age, when really they should be focused on the stupidity and negligence of the guide. It's the guide and tour company's job to look after people. What...Was The Weather Channel not working in China that day? If they had just checked (or not ignored) the weather report, this would not have happened. And in the event of an idiot guide, then the hikers need to be aware enough to abort the climb / hike. Mother Nature's a bitch.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

I would go during the summertime. But that's just me !!!!!

Never trust your tour guide, pay attention to the weather.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

@ Mike Critchley..."Mother Nature's a bitch" Amen!

1 ( +1 / -0 )

China wants to present itslef as a TOP WORLD ECONOMY .........................BUT in reality very little of the 'wealth" is used to modernize infrastructures and services - - - So the CAVAET is:Buyer Beware when travelling to China

-2 ( +2 / -4 )

Travel agency made plans with the travel guide thru email. Nobody was ever at the site nor nobody was ever paying attention to the weather. The travel company simply advice the tourists to bring a light jacket as it might be cold in the area...

And Japanese in general don't have the ability to think outside the box, they simply accept what they are told and did not do any research on their own.

Stupidity knows no bounds.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

This is the same travel agency which was held responsible when 7 tourist hikers and 1 tour guide froze to death in the mountains in Hokkaido 3 years ago. This is no coincidence.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

China is part of Eurosia, right there under Russia, and it gets mighty cold, these folk learned a hard lesson and ended up paying with their own lives. Why?? Did they not get the bad weather report?? We do not know, but the Japanese travel agency involved in this mess has been in the news before, so maybe they just want to make $$$ no matter how bad the weather is??

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Philly1 - you are right on.

This comment: "WakarimasenNOV. 05, 2012 - 02:13PM JST What were these oldies doing climbibng a mountain in freezing weather?" is typical of many comments recently on JT.

I suppose now that racism and sexism is verboten, young ignorant people have to turn to ageism. It is disgusting and uncalled for.

And irony? You all will be old someday. If you are lucky, that is.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

This same Japanese travel company 'AMUSE' was responsible for the death of 8 hikers in Hokkaido about 3 years ago...under very similar circumstances. The fact that they are still operating after that tragedy defies belief.

Might I add that the ageism tone of some of the above posters is disturbing...and completely disrespectful.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

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