Glass bridge in China breaks, trapping tourist 100m above ground

High winds in north-east China's Jilin province led to a glass bridge shattering on Friday, trapping an unlucky tourist 100 metres up on Piyan Mountain, Longjing.

After it shattered, pieces of glass from the bridge were picked up by the wind and travelled at speeds of up to 150km/h, according to a report from Chinese news agency Xinhua. Luckily, they did not hit anyone on their journey.

The trapped male tourist was forced to crawl to safety with the aid of firefighters, police and tourism personnel.

The incident immediately caused outcry on Chinese social media platform Weibo, with many damning China's tourism industry for encouraging the glass-bridge trend as a novel way to attract travellers without adequate safety precautions or building regulations.

The construction of novelty bridges is increasingly common in China: it's estimated there are over 2300 glass bridges in the country, along with "an undetermined number of glass walkways or slides" according to state media service ECNS. The country also boasts the world's longest suspension glass bridge in Guangdong province, at a height of 201 metres and spanning 526.14 metres.

The trend was made famous by Hunan province's Zhangjiajie bridge, where tourists walk across a glass bridge hoisted 300 metres above the ground between two steep cliffs.

While some governments within mountainous provinces have guidelines to prevent incidents with glass bridges, regulations are not standardised across the country.

"How often did the bridge undergo maintenance?", one Weibo user asked.

"This is exactly why I dare not step on a bridge like that", wrote another.


The Piyan Mountain incident is not the only Chinese bridge making headlines. A cable bridge in Guizhou in southern China was filmed taking the brunt of a violent storm last week, leaving many to question its structural integrity. In the video,the bridge is seen being badly damaged as it twists into knots in the strong winds, just managing to stay connected.

Ruyi Bridge is another Chinese bridge gaining worldwide attention. Located near Taizhou in Zehejiang province on the country's east coast, it's a curved structure with a striking design that led to claims it was fake after photos of it first emerged. 

Its creators explained in a post on social platform Weibo that "intertwined into an undulating bridge body, visitors have a sense of experience when they pass".

Former Canadian astronaut Chris Hadfield tweeted a video of the bridge, joking: "I'd want better handrails."

See also: It's real: Bizarre Chinese bridge goes viral amid claims it's fake

See also: Crossing Japan's 'insane' bridge into the sky