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Backpackers stranded on NW China mountain

(Xinhua)

14:58, March 26, 2012

LANZHOU, March 26 (Xinhua) -- Rescuers in northwest China's Gansu province have reached three backpackers who fell into a mountain pit on Sunday evening, local authorities said.

The three climbers, one of whom is in a semi-comatose state while the other two sustained minor injuries, were reached at 11:30 a.m. Monday and are being rushed to hospital, according to the government of the Tianzhu Tibetan autonomous prefecture.

The three were part of a 64-member team of backpackers who were climbing Maya Mountain in Tianzhu, according to the prefecture government.

Local police received a report at 6 p.m. on Sunday stating that 10 climbers were trapped on a snow-decked peak about 4,400 meters above sea level, and three of them were injured after falling into a deep hole.

More than 100 rescuers joined the search and rescue mission, and seven of the climbers had been rescued earlier Monday morning, the local government said.

China has seen a spate of accidents involving backpackers in recent years, sparking public debate about the rising popularity of the hobby.

Last October, a dozen adventurers traversed a closed route on a mountain in Sichuan province without first registering with local authorities, prompting a massive rescue mission led by the local authorities who believed the hikers had gone missing.

The group in the latest accident in Gansu has also been accused of not registering with local mountaineering authorities.

"In China, hiking activities on mountains taller than 3,500 meters can not be held until their application is approved by the local mountaineering association," said Guo Mingtao, vice secretary-general of the Gansu Mountaineering Association.

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