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Foreigner, guide die on off-limits zipline in Vietnam’s Da Lat City

Friday, February 24, 2017, 08:29 GMT+7

A foreign tourist and his Vietnamese tour guide lost their lives on Thursday after ignoring a ban on certain adventure activities in the Central Highlands city of Da Lat.

Cwiakala Rafal, a Polish national, was among eight foreign holidaymakers who set out around 8:00 am to explore Hang Cop (Tiger Cave), a popular waterfall in Da Lat, accompanied by two local tour guides.

Despite a large banner prohibiting foreign tourists from extreme activities at Hang Cop, the tour guides still allowed their guests to descend the waterfall by zipline at 9:00 am.

Rafal, 33, was on the zipline with 24-year-old guide Nguyen Quoc Khanh, when the pair lost hold of the ropes and plummeted into the rocky waters below.  Their bodies were immediately swept downstream by heavy currents.

Local police attempting to reach the victims were slowed down by the rugged mountainous terrain and were unable to reach the victims until 12:30 pm when their bodies surfaced approximately 600m away from the scene of the accident.

By 2:00 pm, the victim’s bodies were completely recovered and taken back to Da Lat City.

The eight-member tourist group included visitors from Poland, the Netherlands, and the UK who had been staying at three separate hostels in Da Lat.

Khanh worked for Gold Dream Tours Services Co., Ltd.

Da Lat authorities say Gold Dream Co. violated rules prohibiting foreign tourists from participating in extreme sporting activities at Hang Cop, unless guided by guides from Da Lat Tourist Co., the only authorized tour provider for the site.

The retrieved belongings of the victims.

Tuoi Tre (Youth) newspaper attempted to contact a Gold Dream Co. on Thursday, but the company’s director refused to comment, saying he is still working with police on the case.

Hang Cop Waterfall stands 50m high and is located approximately 3km from the nearest residential area.

The adventure tourism site used to be managed by a private local firm, but has been abandoned for months.

Exactly one year ago, on February 26, 2016, three British tourists, including two women, died on ziplines at Datanla, another waterfall in Da Lat.

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