BEIJING, Aug. 15 -- A mobile phone could have led to the death of a 25-year-old Greek tourist who was struck by a bolt of lightening on the Great Wall near Beijing.
"Mobile phones in use can induce lightning strikes," said an employee surnamed Wang with the management office at the Simatai section of the Great Wall.
She said yesterday that the Simatai section of the wall was equipped with lightning rods that are supposed to protect people from being struck, but "it was possible" that the tragedy was caused by the mobile phones the Greek woman and her male companion had on them. The 30-year-old Greek man was slightly injured.
Wang said, "We usually advise tourists to turn off their mobile phones in stormy weathers."
Last year, 10 tourists seeking shelter from the rain in a beacon tower at Juyong Pass, another section of the Great Wall, were also struck by lightning when one of them was using a mobile phone. Fortunately, no one was seriously injured.
Experts warn that in stormy weather, tourists should turn off their mobile phones in open areas, and stay away from lakes, ponds, trees, wire poles and pavilions, which are often hit by lightening.
The latest accident occurred just after noon on Friday. Medical workers reached the spot just over an hour later and found the woman already dead.
A local villager selling souvenirs on the Great Wall said there was only a little rain in the morning, but it developed into a thunderstorm around noon.
"The thunder roared and lightning flashed, with strong winds and heavy rain," he recalled. "We all rushed down the hill for fear of being hit by a bolt of lightening."
The employee with the management office said they stopped selling tickets for the wall at about 12:30 pm because of the thunderstorm.
(Source: China Daily)