CHINA

Precarious river crossing claims sixth victim

As there is no bridge for pedestrians to cross this point of the Xunsi River in south-west Wuhan, local residents have to chance using a pipeline to reach the other side. On October 17, it claimed its sixth victim in a decade. Read more...

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As there is no bridge for pedestrians to cross this point of the Xunsi River in south-west Wuhan, local residents have to chance using a pipeline to reach the other side. On October 17, it claimed its sixth victim in a decade.

The supporting structure of the pipe spans the river at ten metres above water. Situated in the centre of a south-west district of the city of Wuhan, the perilous overpass is used by around 300 people every day.

“No state service will accept responsibility”

Weng Haofeng is a photographer and blogger from Wuhan. He took the photos.

The high-speed Beijing-Guangzhou train crosses the bridge above every five minutes. Just next to it is this very narrow gangplank which carries electric cables. It's this narrow overpass that the locals use as a kind of bridge. People have not only injured themselves, but drowned after falling into the polluted water below [according to the local press, there have been six deaths since 1999]. Just last Saturday, yet another tragedy took place on the ‘bridge'. Four children were crossing, when one of them, Cheng Jin, slipped and fell into the river. A week later, his body has still not been found. And no state service will accept responsibility. His parents are devastated; often you see his father sat on the bank staring into the water.

But the incident hasn't changed anything. Nothing's been done to improve the situation. People keep crossing the river.

The locals say pedestrians were banned from crossing the railway bridge many years ago. To avoid a two-kilometre detour, some of them started using the rail. The authorities put up barriers, but they were soon taken down by the locals. And then everyone started using it.

If the authorities do nothing then there will only be more victims. In our society, we're supposed to value life more than that."

Cheng Jin slipped and drowned in the river on October 17. His father holds a photo of him in his hands.