Flash flood kills at least 14 hikers in China gorge

12/07/2009 - 11:55

BEIJING (Reuters) - Fourteen hikers were killed and five are missing after being swept away by a flash flood in a scenic gorge near the southwestern Chinese city of Chongqing, Xinhua news agency said on Sunday.

About 400 rescuers worked overnight at the Tanzhangxia Gorge to rescue 16 other members of the group of 35 men and women, who had organised the hike through a travel website.

A sudden afternoon rainstorm triggered a wall of water several metres high, which swept the group several kilometres through the gorge.

One of the hikers, Deng Ke, survived by grabbing a strand of bamboo, Xinhua said.

Urban Chinese are increasingly using the Internet to organise hikes, auto rallies and other excursions, activities that would have been very rare before the rise in incomes and China's car culture boom over the last decade.

(Reporting by Lucy Hornby; Editing by Louise Ireland)

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