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Tragedy cautions be wary of social media buzz

By Li Yang | China Daily | Updated: 2022-08-16 07:40

Rescuers are seen at the Longcao valley in Longmenshan town, Pengzhou, Sichuan province on Aug 14, 2022. [Photo/VCG]

A flash flood in Longcao Valley in Pengzhou, Sichuan province, on Saturday afternoon drowned seven travelers, who were caught unprepared while playing in the creek at the bottom of the valley.

Video shot by survivors showing people desperately struggling in the torrent has caught wide attention, and put the spotlight on which party is responsible to prevent such tragedy from happening.

The valley is not a tourist spot, and locals seldom escape the summer heat in it as they know the valley is prone to frequent landslides and mountain floods. That's why local governments have put up some posters near it warning visitors of the potential danger.

But the valley is still portrayed as a Shangri-La on many social media platforms. The bloggers hype up its attractions but fail to warn visitors that it can quickly turn into a valley of death.

Many travelers rush to the valley ignoring the warnings of the local residents, thinking that they will have enough time to escape a flood or landslide if it happens. But as the accident last week indicates, that may be only wishful thinking. Once they heard the roaring of a turbulent mountain flood it was already too late for them, especially those with kids, to evacuate from the valley.

As the video shows, a father and a son chose to rush to the top of a big pile gravel in the middle of the stream rather than to the mountain slope when they were warned of the approaching flood. They apparently underestimated how high and strong a mountain flood can become. In a few seconds they were engulfed by the torrent and the son was later confirmed as being among the dead.

There are numerous such scenic spots recommended by people on social media that are not developed as tourist spots. The network users should draw lessons from the tragedy in Pengzhou and be well aware the potential dangers in these places. Exploring a wild "must-see" scenic spot is not the same as visiting a developed tourist attraction and tourists should not be led astray by attention-seeking social media posts.

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