On 11 July 2009, 14 Chinese hikers were killed when a sudden rainstorm caused a wall of water to bear down on them.
Hiking In a Forbidden Area
On Saturday, 11 July 2009, a group of 35 hikers entered a forbidden section of the Tanzhangxia Gorge, in Chongquin, China, in the company of a local guide. Torrential rains that day sent a wall of water cascading down the gorge at about 3:00 pm local time. One survivor, Deng Ke, said the rushing flood water was "several meters high."
Ke survived by clinging to a bamboo shoot.
The Rescue Operation
Over 400 emergency workers responded immediately; that number swelled as the day went on until 1,900 police officers, soldiers, medical staff and local residents were involved in the search for the missing. They rescued 16 members of the group and found 14 bodies. Five people were hospitalized for minor injuries. Five remain missing.
A String Of Weather-Related Tragedies
Earlier that week, rain-triggered mud flows left two people dead in Chongquin’s Kaixian County and four missing in Yunyang County. The rain began to fall in northeastern Chongquin around 8:00 pm local time Thursday, 9 July 2009. The storms affected 151,600 people in 106 townships. At least 3,880 were evacuated.
Deaths in Other Provinces
On Saturday, 11 July 2009, the same torrential rains that caused the flash flooding in Tanzhangxia Gorge caused flooding in a power plant in Liuyang City, Hunan Province, at about 4:30 pm local time. Flood waters rushed into the plant, trapping five workers. Rescuers found one body and the other four remain missing.
In Sichuan province, heavy rains killed two people and displaced more than 100,000. Two young men were swept away by flood waters while crossing a bridge in Xuanhan County at about 9:00 am on 11 July 2009.
The rains destroyed 8,582 houses and damaged a further 11,782.