Thrill seekers may have to look elsewhere for now, as many scenic mountain ranges in China have closed their glass-bottomed attractions due to safety concerns. In fact, Hebei province has “shut all 32 of its glass attractions - including bridges, walkways and viewing decks” for the next year and a half, as safety checks and upgrades are being performed, according to a report by CCTV 2.
Glass walkway in Hebei province. Image via China Daily
While walking over a glass bridge is already a surreal experience in itself, many of these bridges add audiovisual effects to replicate glass shattering to attract even more daredevils. Although the popularity of these glass attractions have sprung up by the hundreds, they have a far from perfect track record.
Faux glass shattering on glass walkway in Hebei. Image via Newsbug Media
Earlier this year, tourists fell out of a glass slide in Guangxi province, resulting in one death and six injuries. At the time of the incident, the glass became extra slippery due to rainfall, causing one man to collide into the guardrail and fly out of the slide. He later died from severe head injuries. In 2017, another tourist in Hubei province also died in a glass slide-related incident.
Image via @广西新闻频道/163.com
The Zhangjiajie glass-bottomed bridge – a popular tourist destination that helped kick off the glass attraction craze – was the longest and tallest glass bridge when it first opened in 2016. It notoriously closed for 13 days (then reopened) after its grand opening due to overwhelming interest. Its trial phase saw ten times the demand of its daily limit of 8,000 visitors. Despite the bridge being paved with panes of three-layered glass, it has experienced rockfall-related accidents which have caused injuries and resulted in deaths.
Zhangjiajie glass bottomed-bridge. Image via Xwcm.net
Shuguohui News reports that there is currently no legal requirement for the overall safety standard of these glass attractions. As a result, an estimated 2,300 glass attractions will be under investigation, a “momentous task” as summed up by the Guardian.
[Cover image via China Daily]